Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category
Back in the mid double 00s, after 32 years of being a staple in the West End, the Cincinnati Arts Consortium (CAC) closed its doors after the city took 1515 Linn Street because of eminent domain.
During it’s time the CAC served as a place where creatives of all ages came to work on their art. There were galleries for art shows, a black box theater for the performing arts and meeting rooms for seminars or classes. If you were an artist seeking a community the CAC was for those who couldn’t afford the high price private classes elsewhere.
Slowly, two other venues are growing to fill in the hole the CAC left.
This past week Elementz celebrated its 8th anniversary. Two hundred teens and young adults go through Elementz to learn a performing art (dance, DJing, recording, songwriting) along with getting a chance to make money with the talents that they have cultivated. Young people teach Zumba classes, dj parties and produce albums. DJ Trentity, one of their young spinners, spent this past summer in Amsterdam at a festival.
Seven miles away from downtown the Madisonville Arts and Cultural Center is banking on reviving the neighborhood by first bringing the arts back into the community. The building’s first floor has an area that doubles as a lobby and an art exhibition space. The second floor is a black box theater that has been renovated with a state of the art sound system. Although they are still working on some renovations, the Art Group that is coordinating the building hopes to have a steady stream of events picking up in the next few months with facility rental available in 2014.
As the Arts makes a comeback to low-income areas, thirsty artists are glad to receive it. Hopefully, Cincinnati City Council is taking note. Having another recording artist or actress might not bring in the same money as a new casino, but the quality of life it can add to our corner of Ohio is immeasurable.
You don’t realize the impact someone has until you notice their absence.
We were talking on a Facebook wall about the nuttiness of a friend’s husband when suddenly a friend dropped a non-sequitor.
“Remember the guy who always had signs on his hat and all over him he would always be in the library well he passed”
He was a fixture in downtown Cincinnati. He was everywhere: Over-the-Rhine at the Washington Park dedication, down by the River near the new Smale Park, watching people dancing on the Square on a hot summer evening or just wandering around the library. And wherever he was he had a message: Remember Joann Burton! End the War in Afghanistan! Go Bengals!
I remember I took a picture of him two years ago. I was watching the Occupy Cincinnati people, snapping pictures, when he stopped in front of me and asked me if I liked his hat. I told him I did. Then he said, “Take my picture.”
So I took it.
I posted my picture on Facebook and within minutes I found a story from a local news station that was reporting his death. More and more friends were shocked and expressed sadness. More people posted pictures and if they didn’t have a picture they told a story of just seeing Hat Man/Hat Guy around downtown and reading his message on his hats. He was just that guy that suddenly appeared and made you smile –definitely not as scary as the construction clown or as creepy as Red Shoe/Blue Shoe.
It wasn’t until the news article that people knew Hat Man’s name: Avtar S. Gill.
Cincinnati is not a quirky city. You will never see a movement to keep this city weird like Austin. But we do havae personalities that aren’t always running for city council. And to have a person that touches so many of us who encounter him –or at the very least we don’t cross the street when we see him coming—means something in a place big enough to be called a city but still small enough that we can have an odd person who embodies the spirit of the town that when he passes we miss him.
Because, really, what didn’t he love about Cincinnati? He loved the Macy’s Music festival as much as he loved the Reds. He mourned General Kabaka Oba as much as he was bereaved in the death of Michael Jackson. He was everywhere downtown professing his love of the Bengals, the Freedom Center, Fountain Square –you name it.
Who needed push notifications from Cincinnati.com when all you needed to do was see his hat to know what was going on in the city?
Looking back on it, I think he carried the burden of loving this city for all of us who are too often disappointed or maybe too jaded to give kisses and unconditional love to the hometown.
Who will love Cincinnati now? And the day we discover he is gone we also find out that we are awarded the 2015 Game All-Star.
And you know he would have had a hat for that.
Hat Man, if there is a heaven please continue to love us from afar. Put in a good word to the Big Man because with the way the Bengals have been playing for the last 20 years, it doesn’t seem as if they have been getting much love from God.
Donald Glover A.K.A. Childish Gambino’s Camp.
I can’t get his music out of my head, even with though he’s overdosing on cursing –which doesn’t bother me that much but as I pass the link along to those a lot younger than me they look at me with skepticism at first and once they hear it puzzlement with all the expletives.
Although they shouldn’t. If you know me then you know then you know I understand creative license and as long as you are creating art for more than just shock value and how shocking can profane words be in the 21st century when you have 3 years using them with verbal dexterity?
But perusing comments and critiques it seems everyone is trying to reach and compare him to people they already know: he wants to be hard like Jay-Z, he’s emo like Ye, he has beats like Lil Wayne.
Yeah, they influenced him, I can hear some of it in his music. But then it also sounds as if Glover has been mining his relatives LPs for the Fifth Dimension, Todd Rundgren and soul singers from the 80s/90s who switch to a falsetto register to convey the urgency of need or despair.
And his lyrics have weight, mining his recent childhood for pain over being unaccepted by blacks and whites for being inauthentically black, although there is the requisite braggadocio about his relationships with women and how great his raps are.
But the flaws are small. Camp is an album for all the young blacks out there who proudly let their nerd flag fly. Maybe now they can wave it higher and in rhythm to a Gambino beat.
I am done! I am past done, I’m into not caring, into disgust. Divestment is over, now I’m just looking at folks like, “Do I know you? I don’t think I do because you don’t look familiar to me.”
Black folks, we are no longer victims just because we our skin is dark. Is there still racism? Yes. Is there disadvantages that comes with our color? Yes. But when we do something wrong, own up to it. Not every incident is a 21st century re-enactment of Jim Crow.
You don’t know what I’m talking about? Have you not seen the news of what went down in Cleveland, Texas?
Ooops, wrong video. But after you watch these I think you can see the confusion:
And what is the response from the good black folks of Cleveland, TX? Well, they want to gather money of course…
… for the perpetrators.
“She lives in another community,” Quanell X told the gathering. “You mean to tell me the only men that had sex with that girl were black men, locked up in that jail?”
Click link for video.
And they want to ask where the parents were…
… of the victim.
The incident happened in November, check your calendar it’s now March. A whole season has come and gone before they began to make arrests.
It doesn’t matter about the race of the victim. It doesn’t matter about the race of the perpetrators. It doesn’t matter if she was walking around wearing make up and clothes that make her look a lot older than her eleven years.
What does matter is the actions of the rapists. We cannot excuse bad behavior of someone just because we share the same skin color. We don’t like it when it’s done to us, so we cannot do it to someone else.
Everyone with a good conscience should stand against this. I wish I would send money to help mount a defense to put child rapists back on the street. But I will definitely send money to the poor child that was raped and lend my support to the prosecution. Black people, we have to say no to thugs. We have to disdain aberrant behavior. We have to cry for injustice and not cry racism when the perpetrators happen to be black.
We really have to take a stand against this or else blackness will become this. Is this really what we want?
You decide. I’m already gone. When you want to join me, I’ll be right here.
(Big Ups to the BlogMother for the links)
Bilal, we ain’t see you in like ever (okay, nine years) and now you are coming out with music nonstop.
I guess I can’t be mad at you. Just don’t leave us like that again.
And if you haven’t voted yet, go out and cast your ballot! Be the change you want to see in the world.
Okay, so I got up early to go do my thing this morning for a party that doesn’t want to even own their own thing. I’ve reconciled that the Repubs will probably come in and take back what the Dems don’t know how to grip. It is what it is.
Have you voted yet? If you haven’t here’s a song to groove to while you are out casting your vote. Left, right,–it don’t matter. Just go out and move that thang while you leave no hanging chads.
By tomorrow evening it will all be over. The political ads can stop. The Republicans will be back on top and Democrats who survive will give a sigh of relief because a little known open secret is they really dislike to wield power. They want it, they crave it but they are like the nerds on the playground who stay in their own little corner because they are afraid they’ll get beat up.
And they are going to get beat up, but unlike everyone else I’m not worried about what’s going on in other states, I have my own state to fret about.
Mr. Comb-Over is back. Yep. We knew he would be. Has he changed his hair? Uhh…. it looks like he got hair plugs or some Rogaine so it’s not at bad to look at as before but I still can’t trust him. But then I’m just meh about Driehaus. He did vote for the health care plan and money for a Cincinnati Street Car but both of those I’m also non plussed about. Luckily it’s not my district.
No, in my district it’s Mean Jean Schmidt running for Congress. I suspect she has the seat since I haven’t seen any signs or commercials which means that the milquetoasts she’s up against aren’t putting up much of a fight. The guy she’s up against is Surya Yalamanchili. He seems like a good candidate but with a difficult name that people don’t really recognize, I’m not sure how he’ll stand up.
Unless he can be on the ballot just as chili. I think people in the Ohio 2nd district would definitely pick a plate of Skyline over Mean Jean.
But Goldstar –mmmm, it would be a close tie.
I think what might get a few people to the polls will be the race for Governor. Kasich blames Ohio job loss on Strickland, although PolitiFact Oh found that the state has been losing jobs steadily since 2000 (when we had a Republican governor). Strickland attacks Kasich on helping senior citizens lose pensions because of his involvement with Lehman brothers but FactCheck.org debunks that. I guess the bigger of the issue is bringing revenue and jobs back to Ohio but I have no idea how either of them plans to handle that. Amid the mudslinging and fingerpointing I don’t think either of them have a clue on how to do it either. So then it comes down to who is less of two evils.
I always hate voting the lesser of two evils. Why can’t one guy just not be evil?
I see them more than I see my own kids.
During the summer break they come in when we open and sometimes leave when we close, if we haven’t kicked them out already. They lunch on junk food from the snack machines; the lucky ones sometimes get money to go to Subway or Chipotle. I know it’s safer for them to be there with us instead of hanging in the street to become future statistics. Still I feel sorry for them.
Not for their mothers, though. Years ago I would have had pity on the parents, suspecting maybe they are working 2 jobs that kept them from knowing where their children were or if they were eating well. It’s easier to prescribe that narrative to a situation that allows for nonchalant teens to be put in charge of sugar happy toddlers with ample speed to climb shelves, race around rooms and scream with sonic force. Imagining twelve year olds who walk around with bandanas in gang colors have asshole absent fathers and overworked mothers sounds like a better story. I don’t know whether these parents are working hard or just indifferent because I never see them. I just know by the age of 9 a lot of these kids are given more freedom than they should have and no family guidance to help them figure things out.
I’m not telling you things that you haven’t heard before or know to be true. The lack of stable, constant parental guidance is one of the reasons Chicago is reverting to the Wild West. It’s the reason why there’s black flight in Detroit. It’s the reason why the black male graduation rates are so low. There’s no one home to make sure the kids have something good to eat other than potato chips. There’s no one home to help with homework or to make sure they are even doing it. There’s no one home to say, “I don’t give a damn what Delon’s mama let him do, we don’t do that mess here!”
I can hear you saying now, “Oh yes, that’s right pick on black mothers. They are an easy target, especially the poor ones.” But it’s because I have been there that I can write these things, even though it pains me to do so. Upper middle class blacks don’t need this speech because they and their progeny are secure in their status. It’s the rest of us that do. Those of us who are hanging on to middle class comfort by a paycheck; those of us who are lower middle class and want to move up; those of us who are lower/working class folks who just want to get ahead. This message is for us. It’s not for those who want to stay hood because you’re gonna do what you wanna do anyway.
So no, I don’t feel sorry for the mothers because they chose to have the kids and they chose to have them alone. If you chose to have your child and not marry the father that’s cool since this is not a marry-your-baby-daddy diatribe. I like to think of this as an intervention piece. And in this intervention my goal is to get black women to stop having children outside the benefit of marriage.
So, now I can hear you saying, “What if I don’t wanna get married? Marriage ain’t for everybody.” You know what you’re right. Marriage, like college, is not for everyone. But neither is having children. If you don’t have a stable income and support (like someone to babysit when you aren’t there, someone showing up for open house and parent –teacher conferences, someone to make sure they get in bed at a reasonable hour and have their homework done beforehand) then maybe parenting is not for you. You can’t raise someone to live in society without a social network of people who share your values to build into your child, teaching them the culture and enforcing what’s right and wrong. (Pssst, if the streets are training your child, then that’s their social network).
“Everybody don’t plan ahead like that. Accidents happen.”
I really hate that excuse.
Kids are not accidents. An accident is when someone backs into your car in the parking garage or the cake pan slips from your hands onto the floor. An accident is something you can’t plan for. If you are having sex, even with the best protection, you can get pregnant. Condoms break, birth control pills fail, IUDs are used incorrectly. If there is a breech in anything the sperm will get out because it is programmed to search and impregnate that egg. There is always a chance, no matter how slight, that if you have sex then you might end up pregnant. That dude might be good in bed, but is he really father material? Is marriage in his plans? Does he want to marry you? How many kids does he have already? Where will you fit in that scheme?
“What if I was drunk and it just happened?”
It sounds like someone needs to stop reading this and go get some help. Go seek Al Anon or whatever, but you need more than the NWNW intervention talk.
I’m going to be hard on us because this affects us. Two weeks ago I learned about a 14 year old boy I knew who killed a 19 year old. It was told to me by another 14 year old who saw him in court as he was getting assigned to a foster home because he severely beat up his sister.
How many more of our kids need to be target practice for trigger happy hoodlums? How many more of our kids should be the reason tax payers decide to build a jail instead of a school?
“Why are you being so hard on the mothers and not on the fathers?”
Because we as women make the decisions of what happens to our bodies and our lives. This is 2010, not 1810. We are not slaves anymore. There’s no need for us to have a whole slew of babies to help pump up the economy. Unfortunately, a lot of us are still living like we are down on the plantation, popping out babies like we are birthing field hands. And the men are behaving like studs, waiting to go to the next farm to make more children there. We can decide what course our lives should take. Having a child is not the solution if you are afraid of adulthood, it doesn’t stave off responsibility. As black women, we have more opportunities now than we have ever had in our history. Having a child is a noble profession, but its hard work. How does a being a single mother fit into your plans?
“You sound like you want folks to go have abortions.”
Nope. Not saying that at all. I want people to think before they act. I want people to not get themselves in the predicament in the first place or, if they have one child, not to have a second one singularly. If the number of black births was to decrease yet overall their quality of life increases then that is what we should strive for as a community.
“But you sound like –“
No, I don’t.
“But you –“
No, really, I don’t. Its common sense what I and the others are saying on this topic. If you decide to go the single motherhood route make sure you have your job and village to help raise the kid. Sometimes people pick the wrong men to have children with and it can happen with the best planning. You can get married and find out the dude is a douche, I think all the mistress stories in entertainment news this year helps to illustrate that point. But lets do due diligence before getting knocked up with the biggest playa’s baby. Let’s make the commitment to find better boyfriends for future husbands so our future children can have men they can emulate in morality and behavior. Lets try to build a better black community one baby at a time.
So then not only I will be spending time with your kids, but then you might even like to enjoy spending time with them yourself.
From the time nominations are announced until a week after the last award is handed out we know the drill; someone will lament the lack of good roles for African Americans then the type of roles African Americans actually win for. It’s not necessarily a knock against the wonderful acting talents of Halle Berry, Denzel Washington or Mo’Nique it’s just that people wonder why an award is given for a dirty cop and not more roles that depict a blind musical genius (like Jamie Foxx for Ray).
The fact is, when it comes to the big screen or the small screen Hollywood uses African Americans and other minorities as secondary characters to the white main characters. In yesteryear we were maids and manservants who had the quick quips and the words of wisdom to help the white protagonist find their way. Today we are confidants, sidekicks, magical negroes or surrogate parents who again are there to help white people find their way. Sometimes when our story is told then it’s told through the lens of a white character where they get to be the hero (see Mississippi Burning) or another person who gets to stand in for the white community (see Secret Life of Bees and soon The Help) because that is the only way whites can understand a black storyline. Black emotions, life and world get filtered through white eyes with the realization of a white character, “They feel just like us!”.
But Hollywood forgets, Black people want to see stories, too, that tell our stories with or own voice. African American pundits like to tout that African Americans buy a lot of products and the average black household watches more television than white ones but it never translates into any type of power that makes anyone comes in search of our dollars. Why? Because they don’t have to seduce our dollars away from us. We will spend our money outside the community and we will watch shows that don’t have black leads or well rounded black characters. The people who are writing the shows and producing the shows are often white males whose views of blacks are like the white producers parodied in Hollywood Shuffle.
I propose we turn the TVs off and for the month of April participate in Script Frenzy. For 30 days you write your stage play, screen play, graphic novel or TV show and the goal is to reach 100 pages. Because we are writing in a frenzy there’s no time for (cringe) proofing or rewriting. Your goal is to write the type of show you want to see on TV instead of sitting passively in front of the boobtube or whining on forums that what you see in everyday life is not represented.
If you are unfamiliar with the format that you choose check out the Script Frenzy website for examples. I plan to do it for the month of April and hope to reach the 100 page mark. If you choose to do it, too, leave a comment with your blog address or send me an email.
When I was a child one of my favorite books was “D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths” (DBofGM). I found the stories in the book more interesting that the night-time soap, “Dallas” because the stories had action, heroism, and backstabbing. Even Mother Earth, an entity in her own right in the pantheon of Greek myths. At one points she encourages the Titans to war against their father Uranus (the sky) and when she’s upset with Zeus she creates Typhon and Echidna.
Angry with Zeus for sending her sons the Titans into the dark pit of Tartarus, Mother Earth now brought forth two terrible monsters, Typhon and his mate, Echidna, and sent them against Zeus. (DBofGM pg 17)
Wow, how badass is Gaea that she would create monsters just to take out other creatures? Makes you glad that the earth is an inert thing that we derive sustenance from, huh?
To think of the earth as a living organism is incomprehensible for many. We can see that we gain sustenance from the earth but to think of her as an entity that could employ defenses to protect herself such as a cell would seem a bit too farfetch for us.
What if, for earth, it’s similar to how humans are home to the millions of bacteria that live on and in our body? We even need these bacteria to live but the wrong kind of bacteria will make us sick. That is when our natural defenses kick in to isolate the intruder and kill it off. Our bodies do this by sending out white blood cells, raising a temperature and other signs of illness.
Yeah, I know, it’s a sucky analogy to compare humans to bad bacteria or worse a virus. But when I think back to last fall’s H1N1 scare and now the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Turkey I can’t help but think of the Gaia theory. What if the what is going on is the earth’s defense mechanism trying to protect itself from what was once a healthy symbiotic relationship turned sickness.
Or maybe it’s earth just heaving gasps as it clings to life. If it’s alive anyway.