5 LESSONS TEACHERS CAN LEARN FROM THE LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER: #1. Writing & Speaking in Standard English is Not Proof of Intellect

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 …

The Feminine Pronoun Series No. 29: Old School #HipHop

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 treasure@femininepronoun.com.  Also, there is bonus video of me reading "For Trayvon #BlackLivesMatter" at the Old School #HipHop concert here: https://youtu.be/GXYLEcrJ-KY