At a recent presentation, I talked about five lessons teachers could take from the life of Fannie Lou Hamer. In response to my assertion that the ability to speak or write in Standard English was not an indication of intellect, an audience member said the following: “Speaking and writing in standard …
I come to writing very honestly. Not only was my mother (rest in peace) a writer, but my father is a well-known poet and is currently poet laureate of his home town of East St. Louis, Illinois.
The first time my writing truly became public was in the 1990s as a signed hip-hop artist to MC Hammer's label, Bust It Records. My group, originally named the Sonic MC's, was discovered by MC Hammer in our hometown of Meridian, Mississippi. What followed was a brief career as a performing rap artist, and staff writer for acts such B. Angie B., Special Generation, and Oaktown's 357. That was 25 years ago, and I still have a deep and abiding love for hip-hop culture and the music in general.
A few months ago, my former partner, Terrence Davis, invited me to participate in a reunion performance. I tentatively accepted, and then tried to back out, because, for me, that time, brief as it was, doesn't always inspired the most positive feelings.
Like many naïve artists, our recording contract was a one-sided at best and a glorified sharecropper's agreement at worst. If people remember the infamy with which MC Hammer's business dealings tumbled from the top of the pop cultural mountain, then you might guess that there were some work culture issues in the company as well. Namely, a rampant sexism that, when I think back on it, I am surprised there weren't more lawsuits. On top of that, I did not have the most pleasurable recording experience, as we were encouraged to produce music that had a sound very similar to MC Hammer's.
My biggest objection however, was that the music simply didn't do well by industry standards. When the collective mind of hip-hop music lovers returns back to artists who made a impact with regard to innovation, popularity, and cultural zeitgeist, our music does not register.
As you can see, I had several reasons to refuse to participate in the reunion performance, but after some cajoling and realizing that I had tried to back out much too late for it to be fair, I agreed to join everyone of my former group members of the group that was subsequently renamed One Cause One Effect.
This vlog chronicles events directly proceeding, during, and after what turned out to be a fun and heartwarming gathering.
I offer two services: 1) I help the college bound teens of busy parents write extraordinary college entrance essays and 2) I provide perceptive leaders with trustworthy diversity and inclusion facilitation. Let's connect at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, there is bonus video of me reading "For Trayvon #BlackLivesMatter" at the Old School #HipHop concert here: https://youtu.be/GXYLEcrJ-KY
About this episode: Living in the aftermath of the Ferguson rebellion means that there is almost a never ending barrage of well-meaning attempts to “reconcile the community and the police.” When I heard of a New York production’s staged reading that was titled “Antigone and Ferguson,” (being performed in ferguson) …
I work with perceptive school leaders who want their teachers to understand Diversity and Inclusion & seek the confidence and classroom results that knowledge produces.
I was invited to talk with the dynamic faculty at the Times2 STEM Academy in Providence, Rhode Island. My presentation was followed by a fantastic walk through the evolving Federal Hill neighborhood. I was treated to the warmth of the Dominican and Puerto Rican majority community and I got to see what excellent school leadership (that respects the community) looks like up close. Go Dr. Carrie McWilliams!
Check out the video here:
In this episode I spend time at the Hawthorne School for Girls, Missouri's only public all girls school. Then, I head to an advanced screening of BIRTH OF A NATION. I end at a wonderful event celebrating my dad's forty years as poet laureate of East St. Louis, Illinois.
You want to jump up and shout because the students on your campus or the individuals in your community are calling out structural bias and even protesting, organizing, and making real headway against it. Or you’re wondering what the hell is going on. Either way the young people need …
In this episode I reflect on the impact of Michael Brown's murder and the Ferguson Uprising on my social justice advocacy, my writing, my teaching and my parenting.
An extra special thanks is owed to the ARTIVISTS and to Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost for the incredible song, "We Comin" that appears toward the end of this episode.
ARTIVISTS STL can be followed on twitter at @ArtivistsStl
Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost's music can be purchased at http://wearefarfetched.net/album/the-revolution-has-come
This is a picture of my neighbor’s front yard. I’ve watched his yard decorations go from an empty flagpole, to a Confederate and U. S. flag accompanied by a lawn jockey, to the addition of Trump political signs, and then the addition of a Trump mailbox cover, to what you’re …
You may think this sounds all "woo woo," but there is a spiritual shift in the universe. I think we all feel it. Even the violent images of black death to which we've been subjected, are harbingers of spiritual ills that need a strong medicine. In this episode I attend a retreat for women of color who are activists and healers (or both) in order to recenter, recharge, and strengthen eachother for what is inevitably to come. The retreat, named WIND AND WARRIOR, was held at The Flowering Lotus Meditation and Retreat center in Magnolia, Mississippi. It is a wonderful space that is centered around Buddhist practice and owned by a black woman. There were 24 of us from all over the country. We were Latina, Somali, and black women/spirits. We were writers, and yoga practitioners, and priests. We were working to help our communities, heal, navigate immigrant status, counter mass incarceration, respond to white supremacy and heal.
Do enjoy this journey with me!