Friday, February 29, 2008

Sight + Sound of the Day



The other night in Baltimore, someone who's been reading my blog asked me what kind of music I'll be listening to once I step into my old-man gear, brutally streamline my CD shelves and start listening to music I actually want to listen to. It'll pretty much be ish like this Crusaders/Randy Crawford classic. Also, I've recommended it a million times before but if you don't already have Randy Crawford's excellent debut CD Raw Silk, it's a must own. Jazz-steeped soul music that is absolutely timeless, the recording has flawless versions of "Nobody" (which I actually prefer to the Nina Simone version), "I Hope You'll Be Very Unhappy Without Me," "Where There Was Darkness," "Someone To Believe In," and "I Stand Accused."

The New Will.I.Am / Obama Joint



Not really feeling this one. Important messages at its core (especially the crucial demonstration of black/brown unity) but they're drenched in high fructose corn syrup. And who woulda thunk that the man who brought you "My Humps" would turn out to be a kingmaker? Move over Okra.

From the Road, Pt. 1

Sitting in Harlem, trying to stay warm. Here's my Erykah Badu review in the LA Times (below.) They asked for 100 words. I will post a longer, more Hardyian review to my blog in the coming week or so.

Badu

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sight + Sound of the Day



The new Lizz Wright. I didn't even know she had a CD dropping, but The Orchard hit stores the same day as Janet and Erykah dropped their new works. It was co-written with the great, underrated Toshi Reagon (this single has Toshi all over it) and has Liz working once again with Craig Street, one of the most consistently on-his-game producers working today. I'm listening to snippets of the CD right now and... it's a priority purchase.

Quote of the Day

On one issue particularly worrisome to American consumers, there are indications that paying $4 for a gallon of gasoline is not out of the question once the summer driving season arrives. Asked about that, Bush said "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that. ... I know it's high now."

Link

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Academy Awards 2008

      I didn't watch the show because I don't care, but I do find it interesting that Marion Cotillard won for her scenery-chewing, embarrassingly over-the-top portrayal of Edith Piaf. Watching the film, I kept feeling like I was watching Nicole Sullivan doing her dim-witted MAD-TV character Antonia.



      Cotillard gave a gratingly showy performance stitched from ham-fisted affectation. The only time she actually managed to suggest a human being was in the scene where Piaf learns that her lover has been killed and she has an uncontrollable, guttural breakdown. As the children would say, the actress peed that scene. The rest of the performance is just plucking at the audience's heartstrings through shameless pandering. The two actresses who played the young Piaf were infinitely better.
      What I find most interesting about Cotillard's win is the selective moral and artistic outrage around the "truthfulness" of bio pics. Lady Sings the Blues was blasted for its devil-may-care approach to the truth of Billie Holiday's life and that (along with the Academy's supposed disgust with Berry Gordy's relentless campaigning for Diana Ross to get an Oscar) is thought to be one of the reasons the OG diva was shut out of the awards over 35 years ago. More recently, Denzel Washington was robbed of his Oscar for Hurricane after the film came under scathing, relentless media attacks for playing too loose with fact. It was open season on the film and it seemed that everybody had loaded weapons. Washington's flawless performance became a casualty of the cross-fire.
      But Cotillard and La Vie En Rose received raves and more raves, despite the fact that the film is factually bullshit. As I watched the movie, I kept thinking, y'all ain't for real with this nonsense are you? (Side note: Given the pains that La Vie takes to connect Piaf to Holiday, who also manufactured assorted distortions and misrepresentations around her life, the double-standard of the receptions afforded the two lying-ass films about the women's lives becomes... interesting.) The film is based on Piaf's own notoriously unreliable self-mythologizing, which anyone with a library card or the ability to google could dismantle. In biographer Margaret Crosland's excellent 1985 biography "Piaf," she takes apart one tale after another that Piaf spun, and that the film presents wholesale anyway. It's hard to believe that with the years of research and writing it took to get the film made, the powers-that-be didn't know they were shoveling, well... bullshit. (For example, in the movie, where young Piaf goes blind and lives in darkness for a long while, Crosland discovered that Piaf actually only developed an eye infection and had blurry vision for a few days. But the film milks that self-spun myth for buckets of tears.)
      That the Academy gave the award to a largely lead-footed, unintentionally hilarious performance is no surprise at all. That's what they do. I just find the double standard... interesting.

Feedback

Ernest Hardy has long been the culture critics’ critic, a rare writer whose every opinion we read and debated and measured our own against. Blood Beats: Vol. 2 shows why: the expansive mind, the humanistic ear, the timely question, the passionately committed voice. There may be no better guide through pop’s image-storm of identities than Mr. Hardy.
Jeff Chang, editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

I’m not sure whether Ernest Hardy is a pen name or not but his writing is everything his name implies. His dissections of pop culture are neatly carved into well-thought proportions over which he pours a tangy, sometimes biting, down-home styled gravy. To read his work is to think twice. He raises the question that only someone who truly believes in the power of art would seek to answer.
Saul Williams

Ernest Hardy’s gift as a cultural critic is his ability to listen. Whether it be in an interview with a filmmaker, the songs on a pop album, or literary prose and poetry floating off the page, Mr. Hardy hears, feels, and then filters through his own heart and mind the stuff of possibility. His words are not the answer, but the beginnings of deep questions. His analysis bubbles above mediocrity like spring water quenching the thirst of those of us who are parched for a way to understand what it means to create and what it means to consume from the slipstream that is our contemporary culture.
Cauleen Smith, director of Drylongso, and professor of film at Massachusetts College of Art

Ernest Hardy’s talent and reputation as one of the preeminent critics working today are beyond reproach, but with Blood Beats: Vol. 2, he establishes himself as a singular force in contemporary cultural criticism.
Mark Anthony Neal, author of Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic

For anyone interested in the historical significance of Black cultural production, from commercial to indie, Ernest Hardy's Blood Beats: Vol. 2 is a must read. Witty as hell, an erudite critic, the brotha knows his shit. Whether it’s cinema or music, his prose makes you want to grab your iPod and experience the visceral connections between art, love, sexuality, politics and the sacrosanct role of blackness in the entertainment industry. OK, this academic lesbian fell in love with the gay boy journalist.
Phyllis J. Jackson, Ph.D, filmmaker, Comrade Sister: Voices of Women in the Black Panther Party



contents

xiii Introduction: SampladelicaFemmeatopia
01 The Gleaners and I (03.29.01)
02 Agnès Varda:
Trembling Like When You Are in Love (03.29.01)
12 Fuck, Die:
Baise-Moi—Porno Art from France (06.01.01)
15 Raoul Peck: On Lumumba,
the ’60s and the Role of Art in Politics (07.20.01)
25 Freddie Gets Fingered:
Notes on the Prinze of Hollywood (08.30.01)
28 Ja Rule, Krayzie Bone:
Inside the New Sensitive Thug (11.23.01)
33 Life and Debt (02.07.02)
35 Turntablin’: Scratch (03.01.02)
39 Meeting Ledisi on a Wednesday:
The Best Singer in America Breaks It Down (04.24.02)
62 For Colored Girls: Kim Hill’s Real Hip-Hop (06.29.02)
86 Lauryn Hill Unplugged:
She Makes the Songs Cry (07.12.02)
89 The Cockettes:
Living at the End of Imagination (07.26.02)
91 Biggie & Tupac (Remix):
Nick Broomfield Imitates Life Imitating Art (10.04.02)
95 Eminem’s Imitation of Life (12.2002)
99 Antwone Fisher: Bonds Beyond Blood (12.19.02)
102 R Kelly: Tossed Salad, Tossed Cookies
Al Green: The Definition of Soul (04.17.03)
106 Assholios & Goddesses:
Raising Victor Vargas and Lilya 4-Ever (04.18.03)
110 Sarah Schulman:
Acting Up and Defending Names (06.04.03)
127 Young Soul Rebels:
Negro/Queer Experimental Filmmakers (08.2003)
136 From Capoeira to Catfights: Madame Satã (08.22.03)
139 Worldwide Underground Sonic Jihad:
Erykah Badu and Paris Funk U Up (10.03.03)
143 Bus 174 (10.24.03)
145 PSTOLA: Packin’ Heat (02.06.04)
160 Fear of a Black Titty:
Treating Janet Like You Don’t Love Her (05.07.04)
164 What Lies Beneath: Carl Hancock Rux on Asphalt,
War-torn Cities and the State of Black Literature in America (07.02.04)
170 White Man’s Burden: Eminem’s Encore (12.09.04)
177 The Roots/Dolly Parton (03.16.05)
183 Rize (06.16.05)
206 Meshell: Voice of the Infidel (08.10.05)
215 Outkast in Love (08.25.05)
227 Kanye West: Up from the Middle Class (09.15.05)
232 Mary J. Blige: The Breakthrough (01.14.06)
237 Fugees: Hollywood & Vine
Kanye West: Avalon (02.10.06)
241 Black Lily L.A. (04.01.06)
245 The Eye of L.A.: Mark Bradford (06.11.06)
257 Diana Ross: OG Diva Sings the Blues (07.05.06)
265 K.I.M.She.Is (11.29.06)
274 Black Music 2006 (01.12.07)
285 Bastards of the Party (02.07.07)
293 Shut Up, Already! Damn...
File Under: Dead Horses (05.2007)
298 Medusa: The Real (05.11.07)
313 Cross Dressers:
Björk and Ryan Shaw Go Genre Bending (06.06.07)

downloads

319 The Pornographer’s Son
381 The Pornographer’s Daughter:
Lil’ Kim Likes It Raw

Flashback to Blood Beats Vol. 1:



“BLOOD BEATS” sets the bar high for those for which cultural criticism – journalistic or otherwise – has been reduced to name dropping and ego-tripping... [Hardy’s] work resides at the obvious (to some) intersections of Blackness, gender and sexuality, but to simply align his writing and style to the now clichéd province of intersectionality is to miss the point of the work. This is writing that is doing real labor – heavy lifting, if you will – on behalf of those folks (the artists, the audiences, and the activists) – who are grappling with “new language in the effort to overthrow... everything.” – Mark Anthony Neal, Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies at Duke University

“There’s intense competition for the title of best quality in Hardy’s prose. I’m inclined to prefer 1) its ability to swivel between film and black pop music subjects while keeping an eye toward trends in American politics, and 2) the (seemingly) effortless elegance of his sentences. The number of new ideas in a typical Ernest Hardy review is high enough and the prose liquid enough that I’ll put petty disagreements aside... Full disclosure: Ernest Hardy is a longtime friend. Yet he’s such a difficult twerp that there’s no way I’d be trying to help the motherfucker on purpose. This praise is about the product and about you, the reader, as your life will be much better with Blood Beats in it. His writing on MeShell NdegeOcello is enough to justify every party of mine that he failed to show up to, each argument about the culture of gangsta rap that ended in stilted silence and bullshit reasons for hanging up. He’s got great pieces on Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, homo-thugs, Warren Beatty and a dozen other topics. Go cop, for real. Vol. 2 hits in 07 and you'll need to be ready for that.” – Donnell Alexander, culture critic and author of Ghetto Celebrity

“Titled in the vernacular of a record album, this first of Ernest Hardy’s bound, printed mix tapes is a varied compilation of song-length essays, interview interludes, and a sampling of original reviews, none of which would ever be aired on mainstream radio or music television. Not that Hardy’s subjects – ranging from Outkast to Jim Jarmusch to Warren Beatty – aren’t “commercially viable,” but unlike many so-called critics willing to sacrifice scrutiny for the sake of the status quo, Hardy (who writes Flaunt’s “Video+DVD” column) is unabashed in his ability to stoke the flames of discord in the hopes that certain issues that are blatantly ignored, mediated, or pushed to the fringe can penetrate the larger cultural discourse. …Ethnic in-fighting, queer identity, black masculinity – while the conservative and the conventional have fun avoiding such topics, dismissing them as liberal lunacy or academic esoterica, Hardy confronts the often shameful play of ethno-sexual politics, using his subjects, whether a musician or a film, as a site for broader cultural inspection. Decisive deconstructions help locate the substance submerged beneath style, and personal insights help parse the “real” from mere rhetoric, until Hardy’s “niche” concerns bleed into a bigger picture that, once realized, can make the heart beat faster, or the blood boil.” – Andrew Pogany, Flaunt Magazine

“...this collection of interviews, reviews and essays from 1996 to 2000 gives engrossing critical shout-outs to both well-established artists and eclectic, on-the-fringe outsiders...” – Craig D. Lindsey, Philadelphia Weekly

“A good friend of mine gave me a copy of 'Blood Beats' and I love it. I couldn’t put it down. In several of the essays, Hardy articulates some of the same thoughts I have about hip-hop and Blackness as filtered through and fucked-over by American pop culture. His work pushes me to think deeper about what I write. Hardy keeps it real, refreshing and stimulating.” – Rashod Ollison, Pop Music Critic at the Baltimore Sun

In BLOOD BEATS VOL. 1 you will find:

INTERVIEWS: Meshell NdgeOcello, Les Nubian, Queen Latifah, Bjork, Warren Beatty, Kasi Lemmons, Ambersunshower, a round-table session with four black women film directors, and more.

ESSAYS: The Life & Death of Tupac; Why Outkast is so important to hip-hop; the demystification of the gay rapper; Aretha, Chaka & Lauryn: The Thread That Links Them; Erykah Badu Unlocks the Paradox; Macho House (music) and more.

FILM REVIEWS: Love Jones, Hav Plenty, Ghost Dog, Bullworth, High Art, Nenette et Boni, Velvet Goldmine, and more.

MUSIC REVIEWS: TLC, Tricky, Mos Def, Armand Van Helden, Byron Stingily, and more.

Buy Blood Beats Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 at Amazon:
click here

Or, support an indie, black-owned publisher and buy direct from RedBone Press

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sights + Sounds of the Day





I always said that after I finished my two books, I would clean (H)ouse and streamline my CD, vinyl and DVD collections. One of the soul-crippling side effects of doing what I do for a living is that it can turn your love into a fucking chore. You start to collect and perceive culture as an anthropologist or a librarian (no diss, Reggie, you know I have love for you and much respect for your gig.) That fan component, where you're sprawled in your underwear on your sofa, eyes closed or staring up at the ceiling lost in the notes, spiraling through the groove, listening not to take notes or to formulate a thesis, but for the same reasons that ancestors chanted and sang and danced... prayed... those reasons get gone. And a recent writing gig for "corporate forces" has left me incredibly demoralized about writing and the slim prospects of earning a living at it as an actual "writer" and not just someone's ad copy ho. Particularly when it's "black culture" that's being bottled. I've long joked that I split writing gigs into two categories: those that feed mind, spirit and soul, and let me actually write (those gigs are increasingly rare and when they do come about, they do not pay) and what I call sucking dick in filthy alleys for cheeseburgers and rocks. Blah, blah, blah and other cliches. This is an age-old struggle, not especially interesting to anyone but the struggler. But the books are done, I've sucked off the corporate trick this week (hey, mister, have ya got a dime / yo, mister, do you wanna spend some time), and I'm sitting here listening to Ultra Nate, planning to come back from the upcoming promotional jaunt back east and reclaim my living space, take back my head space, try to detox and get back to loving and not hating "writing." Pack up most of the hip-hop taking up precious space on my shelves (cannot.do.it.anymore), thin out the DVDs, and get back on track.

(Thank you, Pato. These CDs are amaaaaaaaaazing.)

Craig's List Ad of the Day

Maybe it's 'cause I just finished writing a piece on Kara Walker, but this ad (placed on Craig's List in Houston) made me laugh. What I love about it is that it shows just how deep, absorbent and never-ending America's quagmire of racial/sexual shit is when even the poster-boy for "post-race" America (now that, Bill Clinton, is a fairytale) is absorbed into the psycho-sexual race-play narrative that is the true all-American story, and he is rendered but a prop in the ongoing black/white power-play booty-call. I suspect that it's just a joke/prank, and that the guy who posted it is likely just some bored white boy still living in his mama basement. But I really hope that it's real.

Hung Black Male (9)_Seeks White Masc Bottom To Pound Wearing Obama Msk -
I am an attractive, in shape hung (9 inches) black male from Atlanta here on business. I am looking for a masculine white male to service me, then get pounded in my hotel room today or tomorrow (saturday). Send your pics, stats and background info. I want to wear my Obama mask while I pound you.

Here's the link. Don't know how long it'll be up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Decided

Given the postpartum depression and whodafuckknew pregnancy weight gains that are apparently part & parcel part of writing books, I shall be writing haikus from now on.

Lil' Kim mocks burqa
The jokes write themselves, for real
Does she think she's free?


Check out my new essay, "The Pornographer's Daughter: Lil' Kim Likes it Raw" in Blood Beats Vol 2: The Bootleg Joints, available 2 days after New AmErykah.

If you can only buy one... I need the money more than Badu do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Quote of the Day: from the Datalounge site

"This year Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fell within the same week. It's an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of limited intelligence for meaningless prognostication on subjects he doesn't understand; the other involves a groundhog."

Video of the Day

Friday, February 08, 2008

Video of the Day

Happy Birfday Kim Blackwell


Kim Blackwell, writer/actress/fierce-ruling-diva. LA girl with Paradise Garage flowing through her veins. Disciple of Larry Levan. High priestess of the turntable her own damn self. A blue-blood child of House; aristocrat, if you will. Caramel chocolate diva to 10,000 screaming faggots. Friend through a friend through another friend. Celebrating a natal day. Have a great one...



















My Electable Parts... by Staceyann Chin


Huckabee
Romney

Clinton
McCain

Obama
Hillary

Mit
and Mike

The names ring nursery like a rhyme

children's games
singing/rain/talking the same old/same old

are the ideas any different
the bodies/newer/shinier than Bush

everybody looks better than that nigga

next to him
I would look good for President

now that Hillary has put a pussy in the politics
I could run

Barak painted me skin and in
not too dark though

we still got troubles
wayyyy down south

the parts of me
Black and female wrestle inside

my body is split
right down the middle

my dike self supports the world being ruled by a woman
the night/shades of me

wants little black boys to stop aping
hip hop
idols/with nothing to worship but records calling me

bitch
this bitch don't take that from nobody

and certainly not a man
looking to make his dick bigger
or harder

or whatever he thinking

if the lights are low enough
and the woman is fine

she can call me anything/anytime

but back to these elections
these fast talkers promising my black woman self

the world

they will give me
healthcare/mandated/housing/affordable

wonder what they will do
with their Black/female back pressed cruel
against some republican/special interest wall

wonder how tall they would stand then

winner takes all
delegates divvied up from light blue to dark blue

my father is Chinese
living in Jamaica

he proudly told me
he is republican

and I don't know that to do with that knowledge

not that it matters
he will never vote in America

the gulf will feed our arguments
give us something to speak of

when we speak
Obama will come up

he will knock at Hillary
and I will do my best

to act like it ain't nothing but normal

gay and Black
woman and immigrant

ain't nutten normal
about me and my split parts

torn as I am

never have I been this significant
in the United States

Black women walk invisible in supermarket aisles
nothing for my hair in the pharmacy

on your shelf
there is nothing for my mother's skin

and though I am glad you cannot sell me much

I resent
your ignorance

your disappearing of my parts

your constant silencing of me
unless you need me

for some voting block where you can again
divide the women
from the Blacks

the Latinos
from the rest of us

as long as we not rich and white
we can be separated from the pack of what is important

split
tear

sever
break

break my heart with this choice of which part of me

may reflect me from that place of power
which one

bitch

chose one
and my first choice was the white blond-dropout
talking all about poverty

but poor people
have never been the subject of any public conversation
unless they steal something

none that I listen to lately
in these times we need

direction
and maybe I should go to a Barak rally
hear him speak without a screen between us

how do you choose
from folks you ain't never seen

either way
parts of me may find themselves

Black
or woman

seated in the white house

history is in the making
people

I say
history is making itself known

and I am just as prone to write it down
tickled
that I am able to watch

and talk politics with my prodigal maybe father
and pontificate
and take a crap on the ideas that seem like shit

for now I am just listening
watching
late night TV in Chicago

and I am just here

watching the ancient dance of men and power
struggling to survive a woman

and a debonair man with my skin

here in Chicago
letting you know
I am listening for when you've looked in

Ephraim Lewis



I've been feenin', these last few weeks, a break from the hollowed-out niggery of pop culture, and have been combing my CD shelf for music by black males that goes beyond that particular dynamic. Been listening to a lot of Bobby Womack. (Yeah, I see your point. Fleeing niggery and listening to Mr. Womack does seem at direct odds... but Bobby feeds me substantive niggery.) But I have also been wanting something that pushes beyond the confines of typical r&b. (See the Stan Campbell post below.) The late, great Ephraim Lewis, who hadn't even really begun exploring his full potential before he died under mysterious circumstances in LA almost fifteen years ago, fits that bill. Click here to read his fascinating, tragic life story.

And what do you mean by that...


Shepard Fairey's hugely successful poster of Barack Obama, not the one above, tagged with the word PROGRESS, but the first one in the series, punctuated with the word OBEY (and successful in terms of generating both media coverage and massive sales for Fairey) seemed vague in meaning when it first dropped. Was it an endorsement of the man and his politics, or a sly critique of the "cult of Obama" that has sprung up around the candidate for change? Or was it an even deeper critique of the bone-deep corruption of the American political system, and the fact that we are all sheep complicit in keeping the apparatus humming? Fairey has since made it clear on his website that he's a huge fan of Obama and supports his candidacy. Yesterday, as I walked home from the market, a local artist smacked a couple of freshly made stickers in my hand and told me with a smile, "Put them up anywhere you can!" The stickers featured Fairey's face rendered in the style that he's appropriated and become rich and famous for, with the word FRAUD stamped just beneath his chin. In smaller letters was the sentence, "Shepard Fairey is a plagiarist." (For the record, I know the artist who passed me the sticker and he is a HUGE Obama fan, so I know that his motives were not ulteriorly about dissing the politician.) Anyway, at the link below is a very interesting, informative essay on Fairey and his art.

Shepard Fairey

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What ever happened to...


Felt a craving for some music that I don't normally listen to, went to my CD shelf, found Stan Campbell's 1987 self-titled solo CD, and popped it in. Began to wonder what ever happened to the former lead vocalist for Special AKA, whose '80s political anthem "Free Nelson Mandela" still makes me dance. Google threw this up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What the world needs now...

Is a radical, radical, radical intervention. And that is not on the ballot.

















yes,
us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of Noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its Indian summer breeze
on the day that America
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for it to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything I've seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and I'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every TV
that's been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to Brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

so here's a toast to all the folks who live in Palestine
Afghanistan
Iraq

El Salvador

here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. Rushmore

here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of Oklahoma City
just to listen to a young woman's voice

here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream

cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
I mean
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
Jeb said he'd deliver Florida, folks
and boy did he ever

and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 George W. Bush is not president
#2 America is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz I am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
I've got no room for a lie so verbose
I'm looking out over my whole human family
and I'm raising my glass in a toast

here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
through valleys
under stars
I dream of touring like Duke Ellington
in my own railroad car
I dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face

give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever

cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall

and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the bomb?
the Ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the New York skyline?!

it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
religiously
the CIA
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
look
another key
another door
10% literal
90% metaphor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
must be more than poems
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
sshhhhhh....
baby listen
hear the train?

by Ani DiFranco

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fox News Sunday, Feb. 3rd 2008

BILL KRISTOL: Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women. The Democratic establishment -- it would be crazy for the Democratic Party to follow an establishment that's led it to defeat year after year. White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we all live with that.

[laughter]

JUAN WILLIAMS (National Public Radio correspondent and Fox News contributor): Not me!

BRIT HUME: Bill, for the record, I like white women.

KRISTOL: I know, I shouldn't have said that.

Link

Will.I.Am / Obama


As I have written before, I think the most amazing and moving thing about Obama's campaign has been the way it has sparked optimism in folks across all sorts of identity lines. His enormous personal charisma has translated to inspiration for many who had either felt so burned by American politics that they'd just distanced themselves from the whole process, or for those who had never ever felt a part of the apparatus known as America. He's still not who my first choice would've been. (And, God no, it's not Billary.) But I have to give him credit for electro-shocking a corpse into life. This video clip is getting a lot of buzz, but I'm actually more enthralled with the words of the song's mastermind, Will.I.Am. His reasons for making the song are below, and here:

I was sitting in my recording studio watching the debates...
Torn between the candidates

I was never really big on politics...
and actually I'm still not big on politics...

The outcome of the last 2 elections has saddened me...
on how unfair, backwards, upside down, unbalanced, untruthful,
corrupt, and just simply, how wrong the world and "politics" are...

So this year i wanted to get involved and do all i could early...

And i found myself torn...
because this time it's not that simple...
our choices aren't as clear as the last elections ...
last time it was so obvious...
Bush and war
vs
no Bush and no war...

But this time it's not that simple...
and there are a lot of people that are torn just like i am...

So for awhile I put it off and i was going to wait until it was decided for me...

And then came New Hampshire...

And i was captivated...

Inspired...

I reflected on my life...
and the blessings I have...
and the people who fought for me to have these rights and blessings...

and I'm not talking about a "black thing"
I'm talking about a "human thing" me as a "person"
an American...

That speech made me think of Martin Luther King...
Kennedy...
and Lincoln...
and all the others that have fought for what we have today...

what America is "supposed" to be...

freedom...
equality...
and truth...

and thats not what we have today...
we think we are free...
but in reality terror and fear controls our decisions...

this is not the America that our pioneers and leaders fought and
died for...

and then there was New Hampshire

it was that speech...
like many great speeches...
that one moved me...
because words and ideas are powerful...

It made me think...
and realize that today we have "very few" leaders...
maybe none...

but that speech...

it inspired me...
it inspired me to look inside myself and outwards towards the world...
it inspired me to want to change myself to better the world...
and take a "leap" towards change...
and hope that others become inspired to do the same...
change themselves..
change their greed...
change their fears...
and if we "change that"
"then hey"..
we got something right...???...

1 week later after the speech settled in me...
I began making this song...
I came up with the idea to turn his speech into a song...
because that speech affected and touched my inner core like nothing in a very long time...

it spoke to me...

because words and ideas are powerful...

I just wanted to add a melody to those words...
I wanted the inspiration that was bubbling inside me to take over...

so i let it..

I wasn't afraid to stand for something...
to stand for "change"...
I wasn't afraid of "fear"...
it was pure inspiration...

so I called my friends...
and they called their friends...
in a matter of 2 days...
We made the song and video...

Usually this process would take months...
a bunch of record company people figuring out strategies and release dates...
interviews...
all that stuff...
but this time i took it in my own hands...
so i called my friends Sarah Pantera, Mike Jurkovac, Fred Goldring, and Jesse Dylan to help make it happen...
and they called their friends..
and we did it together in 48 hours...
and instead of putting it in the hands of profit we put it in the hands of inspiration...

then we put it on the net for the world to feel...

When you are truly inspired..
magic happens...
incredible things happen...
love happens..
(and with that combination)

"love, and inspiration"

change happens...

"change for the better"
Inspiration breeds change...

"Positive change"...

no one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today...
Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above...
It's all scary...

Martin Luther King didn't have experience to lead...
Kennedy didn't have experience to lead...
Susan B. Anthony...
Nelson Mandela...
Rosa Parks...
Gandhi...
Anne Frank...
and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today...

no one truly has experience to deal with the world today...

they just need "desire, strength, courage ability, and passion" to change...
and to stand for something even when people say it's not possible...

America would not be here "today" if we didn't stand and fight for
change "yesterday"...
Everything we have as a "people" is because of the "people" who fought for
change...
and whoever is the President has to realize we have a lot of changing to do

I'm not trying to convince people to see things how i do...
I produced this song to share my new found inspiration and how I've been moved...
I hope this song will make you feel...
love...
and think...
and be inspired just like the speech inspired me...

that's all...

Let's all come together like America is supposed to...
Like Japan did after Hiroshima...

that was less than 65 years ago...
and look at Japan now...

they did it together...
they did it...

"We can't?...

Are you serious..?..

WE CAN!!!

Yes we can...
A United "America"
Democrats, Republicans and Independents together...
Building a new America

We can do it...
"TOGETHER"

Thank you for reading and listening...
will.i.am