Your Black World Reports
I listened to your speech last week at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s 20th anniversary dinner, talking among friends and close supporters. This was an annual African American dinner, a very important one. While I know that any Democrat would have fulfilled their promise to come back if they had won the ’08 election, I also know the significance, and the special burden it poses on you, as the first African American President, at the same time.
Still, I woke up the next day feeling uneasy, not because you didn’t take issues of direct significance to the black community head-on — like the fact that one in three black children go to jail once in their lifetime or that black people have an unemployment rate double the amount of white people — but because nowhere in your deep and thoughtful remarks did you talk about the elephant in the room that affects ALL Americans, irrespective of color: the growing ranks of poor Americans, Americans struggling not just to meet their mortgage payments but to eat, sleep under a roof, educate their kids and pay their basic bills.
Is it possible for the music industry to learn something from an artist who hasn’t had a hit song since the mid-’90s?
In the case of MC Hammer, it just might.
To many in the music industry, Hammer is a has-been rapper who squandered a fortune and eventually faded into musical irrelevancy. But in Silicon Valley, he’s a respected entrepreneur, investor and adviser with a reputation as a savvy early adopter of new technology.
That’s quite an achievement in a region that views most celebrities with suspicion.
Your Black World reports
The late Tupac Shakur Spent a lot of time in jails and prisons before his death. In the interviews below, he candidly discusses life as a prison inmate, the inspiration for his music and life as a young black male in America. Check it out.
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action
As a fan of hip-hop, I couldn’t help but appreciate the talent of the rapper Wiz Khalifa out of Pittsburgh. Fresh off the release of his new album, “Rolling Papers,” Wiz appears to be on the top of the hip-hop world. The first thing I thought about when I heard Wiz Khalifa’s style is that he sounded remarkably similar to artists of my generation, namely Snoop Dogg and Too Short.
Last night, I was up watching last year’s Hip-Hop honors on Vh-1. I knew that it wasn’t live, since the rappers T.I. and Gucci Mane weren’t in jail. In fact, I find it interesting that I had to count and remember which artists were incarcerated out of the bunch, since it seems that hip-hop has now made it cool to go to jail, at least for a little while.
As a fan of hip-hop, I enjoyed the music being performed by various artists. I couldn’t, however, help but be disturbed by trends that become more and more apparent to me as I get older. At one point, there were three "interesting" songs performed in a row, one by an artist by the name of "Bone Crusher," a second performed by Gucci Mane and a third performed by the Ying-Yang Twins. Bone Crusher rapped about "popping the trunk" and killing another "n*gga" who spoke to him disrepsectfully. To be more precise, the lyrics were as follows:
Let a choppa go PLOOOOOOWWW! to yo melon
Now the plasma is oozin outta yo cerebellum
AttenSHUNNNNN! F*ck n*gga, now you swellin
You ain’t talkin hardcore, now is ya? Lil’ b*tch!
As the son of a preacher, I know how to avoid sacrilegious statements when I see them. I don’t use God’s name in vain, and I don’t make nasty jokes about Jesus. But if hip-hop had a bible, it would start with the commandment that "Thou shalt not compare any living rapper to the great Biggie and Pac."
If you even briefly mention that any artist in America comes close to "the great ones," you are quickly slapped with a "shut yo mouth" by hip-hop heads who tell you that you’re out of your damn mind. There is no living artist, at least not under the age of 30, who dares compare himself to Biggie and Pac, who’ve effectively become the God and Jesus of the hip-hop world.
Let’s be clear: these artists were legendary in their talent level and deserve massive amounts of respect. But the idea that they are better than every hip-hop artist since is likely due to our stunning capacity to practically worship dead artists rather than a truly fair comparison of musical impact. Since Tupac Shakur died, he has been transformed into a visionary and a saint, when the truth is that he could be just as trifling as Lil Wayne, TI and the other artists who are living today. I was a huge fan of both Biggie and Pac when they were alive. I listened to Pac every morning before heading to campus, and I bumped Biggie when I rolled in my hooptie. They were like Burger King and McDonalds or Coke and Pepsi: two dominant versions of virtually the same product (gangsta rap). I never chose one over the other, because both of them were great.
You see it all over television, celebrities endorsing "syrup," which is a combination of cough syrup with codeine and soda, two ingredients that can make for a lethal recipe.
Stores in Southeast Texas are now carrying the products that bear the names "drank" and "syrup", but with a different twist.
Drank and Sippin Syrup are two examples of a new anti-energy drink that is supposed to provide "extreme relaxation." There is nothing harmful in these products, in fact one of the main ingredients is Melatonin, a natural substance that helps you sleep.
18-year-old Jackie Robinson says he just started drinking this anti-energy drink because of the slogan, "sippin syrup."
"I ain’t gonna lie it really do," said Robinson Wednesday afternoon as he sipped his drink outside a Beaumont convenient store. "It probably attracts a lot of people from the name too."
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Two 25-year-old brothers from Orlando, Fla., could become the first twins in the nation to be sentenced to death. They are accused of killing two people during a robbery. Dante Hall is currently on trial. His twin, Donte, has been convicted and a jury recommended that he get the death penalty.
Hip-Hop Emcee/Newscaster, Jasiri X, returns with his weekly Hip-Hop newscasts. For this week, current events include the failing economy, George Bush’s confessions, the ongoing Plaxico Burress fiasco, the Detroit 3 Auto-Bailout, Chicago workers sit-in, Clarence “Tom Us” questioning President-Elect Obama’s citizenship, and more:
Jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis, has a new book coming out. “Moving to a Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life,” is Marsalis’ way of encouraging empathy in a growing narcissistic world. Promoting his new book, the trumpeter payed a stop to Stephen Colbert’s show yesterday. Marsalis took time out to share his views on race, the contributions of jazz to our society, the Wall Street bailout deal, and more:
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