Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Nothing policital here. Just my favorite poem by Ms. Angelou. That is all...


Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Night Watch Service

I always knew that many black folk went to church to celebrate New Year's Eve. I never really knew why and just figured that's what the church folk did instead of the usual parties and drinking and such that goes along with New Year's celebrations. My cousin sent me the following info in an email and I thought I'd share. That is all...


Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve.

The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m. And ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.
Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate.
For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event.
Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church.
Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs.
In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.

However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations.
The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve."
On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .

When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.
Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.

It's been 145 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate
"how we got over."

PS- Pass this information on so we can educate more of our Family and Friends about our History!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

OC Activist Wants to Ban Maya Angelou

I LOVE to read. I have since I was a kid. I'm usually not discriminate about the book either. I wonder what books I would have missed out on if people like the ones in the article below had their way.

I have read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and thought it was one of Ms. Angelou's best works. I read her book when I was in 8th grade. Does the book address molestation, rape and teen pregnancy? Yes. Does it do it in a way that is celebrating these topics? NO.

Why do people think they have a right to limit what others can read, say or do? If you don't want your child to read Ms Angelou's book then don't let them read it. If another parent feels their child is mature enough for the subject matter then that is that parent's call. Even the article mentions the book in question has been checked out 5 times in the last 5 years. Hmmmm...doesn't sound like all the little kiddies are lining up to check this one out. But this activist wants to ban it?

Get over yourself!

Teach your children what is appropriate and what isn't. Leave parenting to the individual parents and stop intruding on other's right to choose their own reading materials. Book banning is wrong!

Follow the link below to read the article. That is all...
OC activists want Angelou book removed


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LA District Attorney Can't Ban Dispensaries

California voters decided to make medical marijuana legal. What did that translate to? Hundreds (about 860) medical marijuana dispensaries just in Southern California. Apparently this doesn't sit well with the City of LA and now they want to ban them.

What's their argument you ask? Hundreds of new dispensaries popping up all over the place that may be covers for illegal operations. Actually they are opening so fast, the city says it can't keep track of them all.

Last time I checked, don't you need all sorts of permits and such to open a business? Yes you do. So what is the City's beef? Apparently the process to open a medical marijuana dispensary is so easy that the city can't even keep track of who's doing what. So of course the proper thing to do isn't revise the permits and permissions for opening such an establishment. No the proper thing to do is ban anymore dispensaries from opening. BRILLIANT!

Kudos to Judge James C. Chalfant for upholding the voters decision. Make the city re-vamp the process for having this sort of business, not disregard what the people of California want.

That is all...

Judge rules L.A.'s ban on new medical marijuana dispensaries is invalid --

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The "N" Word: No one should use it

Main Entry: nig·ger
Pronunciation: \ˈni-gər\
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro, from negro black, from Latin niger
Date: 1786
1 usually offensive; see usage paragraph below : a black person
2 usually offensive; see usage paragraph below : a member of any dark-skinned race
3 : a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons

usage Nigger in senses 1 and 2 can be found in the works of such writers of the past as Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, but it now ranks as perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English. Its use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but, except in sense 3, it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.


Of all the racial slurs that exist, I think perhaps "nigger" is the one that inspires the most outrage. Don Imus lost his job. So did that Bounty Hunter guy. Yet hip-hop artists regularly infuse their music with the word and in some neighborhoods it is as common as hello. "What up, my nigga!"

There are rappers like Jay-Z who claim that they have taken the power out of the word. Made it their own and turned it into something different. But really...have they? Or have they just made it more acceptable. There is after all the double standard of how blacks can use the word, but other races cannot. And I must ask...what kind of sense does that make?

Hip-hop claims to have taken the power from the word by using it in their music and speech amongst each other. Jay-Z defended his use of the word in an interview with Oprah (see the excerpt below). But is this really how it is?

No. If a non-black person uses the "N" word all hell still breaks loose. If you are a public figure you can loose your job. If you are a private citizen you may find yourself in a very uncomfortable position. Where did hip-hop get the idea that if they used the word amongst themselves as a term of endearment the rest of the world would stop using it as the worst kind of racial slur?

Many black leaders and community organizations have called on the hip-hop industry to change their lyrics and stop the use of the word. Many artists have pushed back, defending themselves and the use of the word. It used to be that when you looked up the word "nigger" in the dictionary, it was defined as an ignorant person. It did not specify race or class. Well that has certainly changed.

I don't make a habit of using the word. Have I used it? Yes. Will I continue to use it? No. Why? It sends the wrong message. After being approached by a friend who was of Filipino descent with the standard, "What up, my nigga!" and finding myself horrified that this person would be so comfortable using it in my house to my face I had to have a change of ideology about the word.

It's not okay if we say it to ourselves. It's not okay if it is said by others. It is just not an okay word to use. It's not a term of endearment. It's not a way to greet your friends. It's not okay when a black person says "Fuck that nigga." It's not okay when a non black person say "I hate those niggers." It's just not okay, people. I am taken back to a point in time not too long ago when there was all the hoopla about Ibonics being a second language. IT'S NOT A LANGUAGE!!! It's severe misuse of the English language and should not be celebrated! It made black people sound ignorant. Using the "n" word makes you sound ignorant!

Then there is the double standard. Blacks can say it but non-blacks can't. Do Latinos go around calling themselves Beaners? Do Arabs go around calling each other Towelheads? You don't hear white people greeting each other with, "Hey, cracker!" Why? Because they are derogatory words. I don't care what you say in the 'hood, the big wide world out there still sees it as a racial slur. And as long as we continue to use it amongst ourselves, we continue to validate the world's use of it.

Jay-Z, maybe you have never had a non-black person look you dead in your eyes and call you a nigger. And so it's very easy for you to say it is a generational issue. But I am 32 years old and at 17 had a white man look me in my face, call me a nigger-bitch and then spit on me. This happened in Los Angeles not in the South!

Racial slurs should not be used. You cannot change the meaning of the word. It is not generational. It should not be used by anyone. Period. That is all...

Added 10/26/09 - My husband thought this clip would go well with this post (as he noted in his comment) here goes!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
N Word
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Oprah Interview with Jay-Z

Oprah: Speaking of conversations, when I met you a few years ago, we discussed our disagreement over the use of the N word and misogynist lyrics in rap music. Do you believe that using the N word is necessary?

Jay-Z: Nothing is necessary. It's just become part of the way we communicate. My generation hasn't had the same experience with that word that generations of people before us had. We weren't so close to the pain. So in our way, we disarmed the word. We took the fire pin out of the grenade.

Oprah: I was once at a Jay-Z concert, and there was a moment when everybody—including white people—was screaming the N word. I gotta tell you, it didn't make me feel good.

Jay-Z: That's understandable.

Oprah: But it didn't seem to affect you. You were having a good time up there onstage.

Jay-Z: I believe that a speaker's intention is what gives a word its power. And if we eliminate the N word, other words would just take its place.

You know, hip-hop has done so much for race relations, even with its ignorance—which, by the way, we do have to take some responsibility for. But even without directly taking on race, we've changed things just by being who we are. It's difficult to teach racism in the home when your kid loves Jay-Z. It's hard to say, "That guy is beneath you" when your kid idolizes that guy.

Oprah: I'll give you that. But when I hear the N word, I still think about every black man who was lynched—and the N word was the last thing he heard. So we'll just have to disagree about this.

Jay-Z: It's a generational thing.



Imus backlash has rappers cleaning up acts
Chamillionaire, Master P, others abandoning offensive language

Chamillionaire figured he could still make good music — just without the rough language. The rapper, who won a Grammy this year for his socially charged smash “Ridin,”’ says he never cursed all that much in his music anyway. The N-word was a different story: “I’ve always used the N-word.”

But after the success of his last album, he went out on tour and saw mostly white faces lip-synching the epithet along with his lyrics. Now Chamillionaire has had a change of heart for his new album, due in September on Universal Music Group, a unit of General Electric Co.

“I was like, ’You know what? I’m not going to say the N-word on this one because when I go back on the road, and I start performing, I don’t want them to be saying it, like me teaching them,”’ he told The Associated Press.