Tuesday, January 25, 2011

fk your brand!

really. thoroughly. i am an artist. have no idea how to be anything but. mediocrity depresses me...too many people following others...omg...please inspire me, please inspire me, please!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

winter 09'

winter in the bay for me means two things: music and rain. buffalo winter means snow. for sure. but snow means skiing and ice skating two pastimes I've loved since my time as a youth. other things too of course! my family and I celebrate christmas. i perform in holiday shows. its a time of exuberant living. reflecting on nothing other than the words and experiences shared and their ability to bring you closer to god. today i affirm everyones right to live exuberantly.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Transgendered Gangbangers in Defense of Clitorechtomy

Cultural competence keeps me human. And lucky for me that when I fall off (and i do fall off) there is usually a ready human nearby, ready to put me back on track. I own a healing arts studio and gallery in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Google it. Yo, there is no place like it in the world. Its like a field of zombies. Junkies abounding, right beside hipsters and a huge and thriving Thai and Vietnamese community. pho all day everyday! Once I demonstrated very clearly to myself just how ignorant i am. e I saw like eight transgendered individuals walking out of the thai restaurant next to my studio and remarked to my friend, "Wow, they let all of them eat there together?"And of course, my friend looked at me hecka crazy, and said, "uh, yeeeahhh! why wouldn't they?" I was so embarrassed.

Rewind. I'm in Mombasa. Now...in a boat in the Indian ocean. I'm a going to Lamu, an island off the coast, to talk with African muslim women about female circumcision. Young, old alike smile in joy and frown in dismay as to how we could pervert their traditions into something deemed, inhumane. I was stunned. Impressed. Convinced that feminism i experienced in the US was flawed.

So now I am completely engrossed in these kinds of moments...the subversion of oppressor/oppressed relationships. conveniently i am now living in San Francisco, California. a long ways form my hometown of buffalo, new york. but maybe not. day 2 home a childhood friend ran into me and after explaining my life in sf, he said, "oh, i get it, your the classic metro sexual, that's cool." subversion. my Morehouse English professor gave me that assignment early on, went on to write me BAD recommendations to grad school later (still got in ya big hater). discuss the subversive nature of job--the bible character job.

just like any good critical theorist would do, i cited Foucault, Derrida and some bible scholars then called it a wrap. c+. which really felt no closer to a b, just c plus extra c. so what was it. what was job's subversion other than questioning? i mean, who wouldn't. i argue that job made music of his distress. that he made art out of it. a good story. proving my point that art is always subversive and that any good artist is hated just as much as she is loved. tell your story. we will all benefit. this is mine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the life and times of crooked hats--for fellas

hah! what??? Fedora cocked to the side wit a wool blazer, designer jeans and $300 shoes?!?! Now that's tuff! Hats. What other articles of clothing express as much personality as a hat? In my opinion, none. For both men and women, hats make the biggest statement about a man or woman's' self-confidence. From black mothers rockin the archtypical Sunday church hats, to bay area filipino hip-hop heads with the grafitti'd SF cap cocked to the side, it seems to me that classic hat clothing combinations tell the world whether you're soft or tuff. The following advice is for the fellas to help keep yo shit crisp!
The basics:
A man with polished sneakers and firm cap...cant be no more basic. Ultimate success...all you needs to accessorize are jeans and a t-shirt. but then there is p.i.m.p. Detroit gators, suit and hat type tuff. If you dress, dress to impress with at least a $100 hat. In conclusion brothas, everything in-between is for clowns. the fedora type top hat with the Converse? Are you kidding me? Clown! Be a man. Worse. Baseball cap with blazer, jeans and dress shoes? Wtf? Evenn more clowned.

Stick to the classics with regard to hats. Be a boy or a be a man..but no 'manchild' bullshit...Sneakers are to caps as shoes are to...HATS...you got it!!! Just rules to remember, in case, god-forbid, one day, your woman starts to dress you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


As a kid, I learned and embellished my understanding of what it meant to be a man at the barbershop with my dad. Since forever, that is where real talk took place. Hard to get today unless of course, you still get your haircut by the same person you used to get your haircut by when you were a kid. As a kid, I lived with my mom and brother but my dad took me to get my haircut. That one act was enough to make him a Saint to me. I love him for that! Though I have countless other fond memories with my father, our days at the barbershop were the most well faded! From his car, to his home, to his gym, to the barbershop, everything and everyone I encountered while in the presence of my father seemed to affirm his principles. That he was a man. That he deserved respect. That he was a father. My dad was the shit! He had heart, and he taught my brother and I to have heart. At the barbershop my father was affirmed as a basketball player, worker, heterosexual, father, and most importantly, as a man with a no-nonsense love of his family, as well as his friends. Now bad shit happened at the barbershop as in the world too. When my barber lost two or three fingers on his cuttin' hand, we still went, because he and my dad were friends. Til this day, I think that JV (my childhood barber) may have lost his fingers to gambling gone way wrong. He told me, he was cutting tomatoes. I love him for that! When my older brother and father had arguments and both wound up at the barbershop at the same time, not just real talk, but real life happened at the barbershop. Grimy-ass reality. But the point of me writin this shit is that it breaks my heart when I see single black moms sittin in the barbershop waiting for their sons' heads to get cut.

I don't know if this is old news to many, I mean, Ice Cube did make a movie years about the Black Barbershop experience, maybe I am just late to recognize, but its my Spring Break and today is a good day, and its my mom's birthday and I think my dad (r.i.p.) is just trying to get me to call my mother ...(which I've already done by the way...this time for him though). I think my Dad always took me to the barbershop because he knew what it would mean for me now, as a Man, but also because he loved my mother. He was just like me, nuts over his woman, and would never permit his woman to hang out in the place where men hang loose. I don't care how metro sexual the world has become, some experiences are best when gendered. If I had a son, either I or his mother would cut his hair, but that's only cause we got a thing with body parts and pieces, but if I wasn't a reborn witchdoctor, and I was you, with a son, I'd make sure my sons father took his lil' ass to the barbershop!

And I know, I have already gone too far...but WOMEN...please remember this: NEVER meet a man in a barbershop! For real, where I come from, that makes you a hoe. Your man can be a barber, but you cant meet a man while waiting for your son to finish getting his haircut! Its gotta be a book that explains this rule of black people. LOL!!!! I get all bothered just thinking about it.

And finally, if you are a man, and your friend is father to a son, encourage him to take care of his son in general, possibly, by first suggesting he take his boy to get a cut, and hopefully, some swagger.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Geosex: The South is Sexier

Hands down. Spanish Moss trees, hot humid summers, black people everywhere, my experience living in Atlanta, Georgia for four years was by far the sexiest of my life. I think of my life as follows:

Childhood (3rd grade to 5th grade). Playing in the neighborhood with neighborhood kids, family, school, sports, church.

Puberty--(6th-8th grade). Sports, school, girls, opinions, church.

Adolescence (9th grade-12th grade). Lotsa opinions, lotsa girls. School. Sports. Music.

Young Man--(College-Grad School). Strategy. Travel. Young women.

Man--(Marriage-Present). Wife, children, family, work and, wisdom.

During my *Adolescence* I learned that I could write to get scholarship money as well as compete and win cash awards for writing poetry, plays and essays. However, while a *Young Man*, I exploited this fully, securing funding from daMan to cover my expenses for one year of living in east Africa, while also touring Southern Africa and finally, having one lovely day in Dubai. I was so engrossed in this never fail system of getting everything I wanted that I later applied to graduate school and with the help of an organization at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, found myself a graduate student at the University of Vermont, studying Victorian undergarments in relation to the perceived pedophile, Lewis Carrol, (Author of Alice in Wonderland) and his original illustrations of Alice.

I digress. I was sexy. I truly believed there was nothing I could not do. And I had dollars to prove it. In Georgia, and throughout the Southern United States in general, life is lived frankly or not at all. For example, my maternal homeland, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, has a population of lil over 50,000, if that. Behind the Pine Bluff City Courthouse is a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the Klu Klux Klan. Forrest wasn't even from the City of Pine Bluff. They just put him there expressly so that niggas would know they had no chance of justice. And so, in response, Pine Bluff has produced, especially from University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, some of the finest Black doctors and educators the world has known. They were clear. They knew they would not be *given* their freedom, let alone their bliss. They took it. Just like we have to take it.

Somehow in the south, self-determination seemed easier. Maybe because of all the reflection of positive Black men in my community. And somehow theres also this random memory...Never once do I remember waiting in the South. Not waiting for the mail to come, or snow to stop, or rain to lighten, or day to break...my wants and needs seemed to always coincide, and I found myself in synchronicity with most things around me, at all times. Buffalo, New York? Where I was born and raised...not a chance? When they stopped *giving* Black people factory jobs the bottom fell out of our community. Here in San Francisco, where I live, Black folk feel like an extinct species. Same story, Naval Shipyard closes and communities fails because ain't no mo good jobs to get from daMan. In San Francisco, I left daMan, two years ago. I now get what I work for, no more no less. Being a man is not sexy. This shit is hard work when you have principles and responsibilities and have to feed people as well as convince them that they are beautiful in world that constantly tells them, "Bitch, you ain't shit," it gets hard. I am living in San Francisco owning and operating a business as a sole proprietor, taking risks and changing my family profile from good job getter to bliss follower. But not because its sexy, but because for some reason California niggas often pan out to mediocrity. Maybe its a lack of roots. For example, I am the upteenth black man from the east coast to come west and open a business only to hear young bloods ask me, "how you do that?" I can t answer them, I just did it, didnt give up my dream, and when the opportunity was there I took risks and never looked back. But I may also stand for something different too. It is important to me that the American community see Black people as national stakeholders--and small businesses make this country what it is...not getting good jobs from bad corporations. Something else that motivates me is that everyone out here uses the word nigga like its ok. I hate that shit! For me, it is unacceptable for nonblack people to use the word nigga. Where I come from, that is just out of pocket. But here in California, thats not the case. Everyone calls everyone nigga all the time, like its ok. White folk, latino folk, asians. And dont no black people say nuthin. I got fed up. I decided one day that the next nonblack person to say nigga in my presence will get their card pulled his card. The Bay gives a free pass for everyone to just denigrate niggas...and then try to explain it as some solidarity movement...I support Palestine but if another young Palestinians starts talkin about niggas in my presence i'm gonna call hima towel-head. ...there is no unity in oppression, its always personal. those that seek to unite oppressions are politicians not revolutionaries. that is why narrative is such a great voice for survivors. I dont know your struggle, and you definitely dont know mine, so why start off talking about what I heard about yours? But here again I digress. Point is, in the south, can't everybody just call anybody nigga. And I will even venture as far as to say, new yorkers dont tolerate that shit either. Nigga cannot become a universally acceptable word for urbanity...if you are black...please cuss out of the next nonblack person that says the word nigga in yo presence. and no, not because the word is so precious, but simply cuz we need no longer be the global benchmark for fucked upness...chink, gook, dego, wop, christ-killer...all work well too, fuck! Cant niggas get a break, its a whole fuckin new milennia. And how does this fit in with Southerness and sexiness? Because standing up for something is sexy, and the south does that best!

Atlanta is where I experienced bliss, and Black folk there and throughout the South have maintained many communities, in addition to everything else needed. Though, in recent years I have been to Arkansas more than Atlanta, I still find strength in being in place that are mostly African American. I am happy to have had my experience of the South. I hope to return one day. But until then, my experience at an HBCU in the South pretty much fuels the work of confronting the incessant challenges of being a Black man, husband and father in San Francisco today. I pray that my children will seize the opportunities to experience their own adult bliss when presented the chance.

So writing got me there--to the South I mean. But its listening that keeps me going back. In addition to being frank, the South is also in my opinion, a more interesting and beautiful linguistic interpretation of English. My wife, who is very much a local of San Francisco, has spent time with me in the South, and she and I share many interests, including observing how country, country folk can be. It is with genuine admiration that we listen to songs born simply to exclaim without, of course, exclaiming. Lost d's and t's sweeten words that truthfully seem to swing much better from the mouth without the Germanic consonants, like "*chile* don'*coun* *cho* blessins!*" SO I think, that when a group of people living in community begin to frame conversation aimed at sweetness in sound, it just seem natural that all thangs become sweeter. And for overkill, please note the preferred drink of the south....say it with me now...."SWWWEET TEA

I don't know why I tried to write this blog. This shit is pretty much impossible to articulate clearly, i mean its just my opinion but damnt I am on Spring Break and I am not in the South, and so I think this might actually be a vent.

Okay. Another angle. You know you are in harmony with southern ways.... when you are ok with quiet...sex is never a problem...family is always who you live with...and dieting is for losers.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why Spanish?

When I sing in Spanish it sounds good to me. So I've been singing in English. Forever in support of the underdog. What a Wonderful World is the song. I don't know who wrote it. Just never could forget how Mr. Armstrong sang it.

Brazo Fuerte. This is what I call spirits of the Volcano. This is what, We, Kongo, chose to call our spirits' of the volcano, once in Cuba.

Yo Kuenda mambo con licensia Brazo Fuerte!
He who feels it knows it.

Being a medium for me hasn't been as much speaking as it has been sensing and seeing.

I had the great pleasure of meeting a brother in Palo who expresses this sensing as apprehension. That we apprehend the dead, in order to gain power, and give manifestation to our thought.

Brazo Fuerte is one of the few energies I have ever first and only, understood in Kongo terms. Brazo Fuerte led my Padrino to smile and make eye contact at his mention. I have one godaughter with a path of Brazo Fuerte. I have met two others with this Path. All were women.

If you have a path of Brazo Fuerte you probably spend way too much time thinking and lost in your own mind. Open your eyes. It is the world you should be contemplating, not yourself.
If you have a path of Brazo Fuerte you have a tendency to play yourself. You trap yourself. Are afraid. Stop. You are capable of blowing the top off any challenge or obstacle, like, WHOA! !! You are so beautiful, people cant help looking at you.
Why Spanish?
Cuz it sounds hotter. For real ya'll, if you heard my singing in Spanish, you would think I knew what the hell i was talkin bout!@!!

+o+o+o+o+o+Brazo Fuerte esta llamando! Viento malo no me toca! Mr. Armstrong claimed Mr. Kubrick as his teacher. Kubrick. Straight form Cuba. Un Kongo carajo!!!! Brazo Fuerte Mala Fama Brillumba Ngo+o+o+o+

"I see skies of blue,
and clouds of white,
the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night..."
from the song What A Wonderful World.