Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kara Walker (excerpt from Flaunt magazine)


In the current issue of Flaunt magazine is an essay I wrote on Kara Walker. While working on the essay, which I intend to expand into a foundational cornerstone of a larger project I'm working on with Mark Bradford, I came to be a huge fan of Walker's. One thing I love about her is that she sparks such smart conversation across the divide of opinion. Really, really smart people loather her; really, really smart people worship her. Both camps can make convincing arguments. I appreciate that. Below are a few excerpts from my piece on her. (By the way, this shit is copyrighted.):

Excerpt 1:

      Last winter, while attending a symposium on the life and music of James Brown at Princeton University, I shared lunch with a handful of fellow Negroes—professors, artists, writers. The conversation moved with velocity; it was vibrant, active: dissecting current events, performing political biopsies and cultural autopsies. There was a welcome and surprising absence of ego. Feeling slightly churlish, and disingenuously apologizing in advance for any toes I might (and silently hoped) to step on, I tossed out a loaded question:
      What was the table’s take on those folks of color—especially but not only Negroes—who toil in academia and the arts, whose focus is on questions of race and racism, but whose personal and professional lives are often painstakingly, blindingly, conspicuously white, and whose work often (therefore?) seems less a genuine examination of or commitment to the issues at hand than a career-building performance for the benefit or titillation of white folks?
      The question (more haltingly asked in real life) was barely out of my mouth before one woman spit out, “Like Kara Walker.” Heads nodded vigorously and assent was murmured.
      What, I asked, was the beef with Walker?
      “She’s still doing the same thing she’s been doing for fifteen years...”
      “She’s not telling me anything new...”
      “She’s vague and imprecise in her references and replications...”
      “She hates black people and is getting paid off that...”
      One guy meekly admitted that he really liked her written work, the sometimes scalding and always confrontational texts that share wall space with her infamous silhouettes.
      “No,” said the woman who’d first mentioned Walker’s name. “They just show how small and petty she is.”
      Not being well-versed in Walker’s oeuvre, I couldn’t do much more than listen and take it all in. (For the record, she wasn’t the spark behind my question, although My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the retrospective of her work that was up then at the Whitney, now at the Hammer in Los Angeles, had made her a hot topic in both media coverage and civilian conversations at that time. I wasn’t familiar enough with her personal or professional life to know if she even fit the criteria of the original question.) I knew her controversial rep, had read quite a few critiques and essays on her art, and had seen a lot of her work both online and in art books and museum catalogues. A fledgling fan, I still hadn’t yet experienced her creative output as it was meant to be experienced: overwhelming you while bearing down from walls of galleries and museums, sucker punching you as it plays out on screens in the small viewing cubicles that show her video work in those same galleries and museums.
      Her meticulous, often gorgeously crafted silhouettes recreate plantation life with all the air-brushed subtext and swept-away history aggressively situated as primary text. The racial horrors of the antebellum South are magnified into something that, through brutal repetition of subject matter, attempts to convey the scale of real-life nightmares. There are unflinching depictions of rapes; lynchings; dismemberment; slave/master copulations both hetero and homo that unmask complicated, uncomfortable dynamics of power and desire; docile jigaboos submitting to their fates, and often seeming to be willing accomplices. This world of white owners and Negro property is composed of all manner of sexual debauchery and degradation, explicitly depicted. Violence is an intrinsic compound in the equation. And it’s all complicated by Walker’s cool intellectual distance, by her injection of humor (as dry as a Negro’s skin in winter), and by the unmistakable correlations drawn between the past and the present.



Excerpt 2:

      It is a week after the James Brown symposium and I’m racing with a friend to the Whitney to catch Walker’s show before the museum closes for the day. We are, of course, on CP Time. After a quick lunch near Columbia University, we dash from the diner and immediately come across a street vendor hawking used coffee-table art books, including tomes celebrating the photographic work of Herb Ritts and Robert Mapplethorpe. My eye falls on a battered copy of Without Sanctuary, the landmark hardcover catalogue that accompanied the museum show of the same name, in which photos and postcards of real-life lynchings were gathered as memorial, an attempt to illuminate the past and present. The images are primarily of black men, of course, but there are also black women and a Jewish man repping the inclusiveness of this country’s bigotry. I already own the book, so I thumb through it but put it back. Budgeting time unwisely, we drop into Kim’s Video store and browse for a few minutes, with me finally buying a remaindered copy of Tariq Ali’s book The Clash of Fundamentalisms. Ali is writing about empire and “terrorists,” religion and culture. He could just as well be speaking about race. As Fanon wrote, “The white man is sealed in his whiteness. The black man in his blackness.” Has time really rendered those words untrue?
      At the museum, I’m blown away. Walker’s work is a never-ending Rorschach test. My friend nudges me to take special notice of the figure of a crouching woman who’s wearing a bonnet. She’s extending a hand out to a child of about 3 or 4 years of age, who uses the offered appendage to balance himself. Behind her back, the woman clutches a knife. Though the image is in silhouette, in black and white, what I clearly see is a blond, blue-eyed toddler with flushed cheeks and a single grinning tooth pushing up through his bottom gum. His eyes laugh. The mammy’s jaw is clenched, her eyes narrowed. The knife is gleaming. I burst into laughter and so does my friend. “I want that on my wall, on my ceiling, and on a T-shirt,” I tell him. Our laughter is hyper pronounced in the cavernous room, as everyone else is milling around somberly, swallowing all sound and reaction.
      I see the banana-clad ghost of Josephine Baker shimmer in the topless pickaninny twins of the “You Do” drawing, and chuckle that La Baker herself was a culture worker whose mining of the racially stereotypical and the avant-garde (whose selling of the racially stereotypical as the avant-garde) has softened over time from scandal and controversy into revered iconography.
      A video of two male silhouette cut-outs, one black and the other white, both visibly manipulated by Walker’s hands, shows the duo sucking and fucking each other in numbed plantation reverie, even conceiving a freakish child, and it strikes me as a fairly dead-on summation of modern-day mainstream hip-hop.
      Later, when flipping through the exhibit’s catalogue we bought, my friend and I will chuckle at the image of Walker’s hand-written note card that reads: “Defeated people never forget (Until they come out on top.)”


Buy my book, Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints

Quote of the Day

I was just freefallin' across the net when I landed on a website I frequent and saw that someone had started a thread that interested me, so I clicked to read the responses. I've cut & paste the initial post and followed that with the response I most loved. I'm not sure if the responding poster coined this himself or if he is actually quoting someone / some piece of writing. But I liked it:

ORIGINAL POST

Have you ever fallen in love with someone you knew who was unresponsive or unaware of your feelings? Crazed fan stalking doesn't count.

I know someone - he likes me. But he hasn't a clue I feel 'that way' about him. Whenever I see him, I get wobbly with happiness and my heart starts pounding. But I absolutely know he doesn't feel similarly about me.

The odd thing is, I'm not even all that sexually attracted to him. He's not my usual 'type'. If I fantasize about him, I don't think about s*cking his c*ck or f*cking him or vice versa. I think about caressing him, holding him in my arms and kissing him tenderly and passionately.

REPLY

Its like the swan in love with the swan boat. You can swim after them your whole life, but you have to meet a real swan.

Update

Okay, I just read the thread further and found the source of the swan quote, here... and now I can't stop thinking about poor, crazy Petra.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Blood Beats Vol. 2 excerpt: Interview with Ledisi



The following is an excerpt from my very first interview with Ledisi, conducted in San Francisco in 2002. I wasn't able to place the interview in a newspaper or magazine, so I sat on it for all these years until I was able to include the full interview in my new book. Between the interview and now I've watched Ledisi struggle to stay on course, battling major-label indifference while forging her own path in the indie world, and she's been a huge source of inspiration... not just for her gift but by her example.
She's now signed to Verve, who released her Grammy nominated 2007 CD Lost & Found.

MEETING LEDISI ON A WEDNESDAY

      Rasella’s supper & jazz club in San Francisco is already packed to overflowing 45 minutes before the night’s show is scheduled to start. The space is crammed with all ages and races – girlfriends and “girlfriends,” couples still in the chemical glow of early romance, those looking to connect and those who are determinedly post-romantic bullshit. If Sex & the City were cast with Negroes and Carrie Bradshaw had dreads and an ass, this might be the show’s nightlife scene. The stage is almost bare: drums, a keyboard. “What does she look like?” asks a guy sitting at a nearby table. His boyfriend fishes an old copy of Ledisi’s self-distributed Soulsinger CD [eventually re-released on Tommy Boy Records] from a leather bag and passes it around the table. Sun, Ledisi’s manager / producer / creative cohort, takes the stage, untangling wires, plugging in equipment, shifting things around on the too-small stage to clear some elbow room. Two bald, good-looking black men climb onstage and position themselves, drummer and bassist. By this time, a glance at a wall clock shows that Ledisi is running late.
      Suddenly the club door flies open and the regulars burst into applause. Ledisi, clad in black jeans and jacket, with a flowing white scarf around her neck and electric shock baby dreads all over her head, seems to fly across the floor to the stage. Grabbing the mike and slowly untwirling her scarf, she sings the opening line to Rahsaan Patterson’s 1997 r&b hit, “Where You Are.” “Baby forgive me,” she croons while smiling impishly, “for making you wait so long…”
      Ledisi is arguably the best soul singer in America. She’s one of the best singers, period. And tonight, performing two sets before a hometown crowd of San Franciscans (and Oakland and Berkeley heads who’ve crossed the bay to see her), she effortlessly proves it. When she sings, her mouth slides all over her face. Her banter and inter-play with her audiences is warm and familial. She jokes and cajoles, dances and clowns. As versed in hip-hop as she is in jazz, she scats and beat-boxes, scratching, twisting and kneading sounds with her mouth. Her voice – thick, deep and rich; playful, sexy and haunting – is pure emotion. When she sings the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” the room falls absolutely silent. Waiters and waitresses freeze in place and listen. The song becomes a hymn of unbearable grief as Ledisi funnels the words through a voice stripped of superfluous stylistic tics. It’s just stark and gorgeous, ridiculous.



      Her self-penned, anthemic “Take Time, a local hit and her signature tune, becomes an extended, audience-participation segment in which her innate theatricality is showcased. The song is about taking a minute to breathe, shrugging off the bullshit that crowds your day and taking stock of what is right in your life, escaping into your own thoughts. Take time / get away / free your mind / and fly away... The breezy chorus is sung enthusiastically by the crowd, then the music falls away and Ledisi goes into a surgically precise comic routine of the 9-5 grind: miming getting in her car and driving through traffic, flipping off crazy drivers, arriving at work, faking bright smiles for boss and co-workers and then rolling her eyes in patented black-girl attitude, juggling phones / typewriter (with the accompanying sound effects) / boss’ demands. It escalates into a frenzy of motion and gestures that brings the crowd to hysterics. Then Ledisi leans into the mike to croon, "Just breathe a minute," so sweetly that a tear springs to my eye. "Just breeeaath... Let it go… the problem’s out of your hands."
      The night’s second show includes a reggae overhaul of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” a cover that conjoins Stanley Turentine’s “Sugar” and D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar,” (an inspired marriage that can also be found on her limited edition jazz CD, Feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue) and a haunting cover of “Almost Blue” that – after she delivers the last crisp note – has her quip, “I can’t sing that one too much… have all my personal hanging out.” The set’s highlight is a wrenching “My Funny Valentine.” When she wails, “Please, why don’t you stay…” the guy next to me puts his head in his hands and just rocks back and forth. The lump in my own throat makes it hard to swallow. The crowd gives a sustained standing ovation. At the end of the set, after thanking her band and thanking the crowd for coming, the last thing she says is, "And remember, be nice to people."
      After she poses with fans and takes photos – chatting and smiling, touching admirers on the arms or shoulders when making a point – we hop in her car and drive to the Castro to an all-night diner.



Ernest: I’ve read that Carmen McRae is one of your biggest idols. She’s not someone who a lot of people, outside of real jazz heads, check for anymore. What is it about her music that grabs you? And who are some of your other musical heroes or heroines?

Ledisi: Carmen has attitude, you know what I mean? I always use Carmen Sings Monk as a reference when I teach ‘cause even if you were blind, you could still feel the words and her attitude. Man, she has great spunk. And Ella for the scatting style and phrasing; she’s just wonderful.

When I was listening to you last perform night, I thought to myself, “Oh, she can actually scat.” Real scatting, not the fake stuff everybody does.

Shoo be doo be doo be doo! Shoo be doo be doo be doo! [She laughs.] Singers nowadays don’t have that in-ya-face kinda singing. I mean, they have it but I think it could be even more, to make people move. Even if they’re [the audience] not there for you, just grab them anyway.

There used to be circuits that up & coming r&b singers and musicians could travel to perfect their craft, learn how to work a crowd. Nowadays someone gets signed while they’re in high school, makes a record, a couple of videos and is then sent out on a tour where they...

Have no idea what to do. And they just look cute and have the nice stylist and, are like, Okay, play the track again. My whole thing is just focused on keeping the old and the new going at the same time, trying to stay where I am as well as use what the people that came before me have done. I mean, how can you just ignore all that? How can you just sit it on a back burner and not acknowledge it?

I hear the Carmen and Ella influences but it’s not necessarily that you sound like them. It’s that you’ve done your homework. You’ve clearly just sat and listened, you’ve studied.

I’m shaking my head, yes. Put that in your notes. I’m shaking my head going, Amen. It’s true. I think every singer should sit and listen. Just listen, don’t sing. The thing is to not just try to be a singer but an instrumentalist as well. Don’t just study and listen to other singers, listen to the band, to the musicians.



Just like Billie Holiday would listen to horn players. There’s a vocal coach in L.A., an elderly woman who's been teaching voice forever, and she says that in the old days kids came to her trying tried to model themselves on Dinah, Carmen, Ella, or Sarah. Or Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, even Little Anthony. She says the ears of kids today are corrupted by what they’re listening to, what they aspire to in their own singing.

Could you tell her to call me so that I feel like I’m not alone? Oh, man. That’s what I said about how can you ignore what was here before you and just deal with what’s going on right now, just to sell records? It’s sad and I don’t think it has to be that way. I’m selling records and I’m still taking from the past and the new. I have the drum influence, the horn influence. I have the ‘20s and ‘30s, the whole Ella and Coltrane eras. How can you not listen to that stuff? I feel like I’m helping bridge the gaps between hip-hop, jazz and r&b. I have young hip-hop kids ask me, what is that you’re doing? I tell them that the jazzy stuff I’m doing is scatting – it’s like freestyling without words. And I give you the scratching and the drum beats as well as doing scats from Thelonius or Bird or whoever, but incorporating my own feeling behind it.

Erasing these artificial boundaries…

And why should I not? We are so lucky in America to have exposure to all these kinds of music. Not everyone is that lucky. I’ll listen to tabla techno, you know what I mean? I jumble it all up together.

What is your goal for your music?

I’m on a mission. I like the way it was. Our slogan is, "Innovators of modern timeless music." It’s innovating modern music with timeless music, music of the past. We’re trying to make music that will last forever. With Soulsinger, people can hopefully put it on now and – even if they haven’t heard it for a year – get the same feeling. Just like when you put on Marvin Gaye or Aretha Franklin. I’m on a mission to keep that going. That’s why I do it – to heal. And if it makes me rich, then great. I’m still not rich but I’m happy. This is enrichment for me, you sitting here and asking me questions about my music. I’m a star now. I don’t have to be on this big old plateau. I don’t have an ego. I’m not trippin.’ [The waiter comes and Ledisi orders hot water, a grilled cheese sandwich and fries.] Like I said, I’m on a mission to make music that lasts. The same way you put on Tribe Called Quest or Ella or Sarah or whoever.

The best music evokes an era but transcends it.

I wanna be just like them. I wanna die knowing that I left something behind to inspire another person to create. That’s why I teach, to balance it out. In my shows, I’m teaching people to relax and love themselves, to leave going, 'Oh, I can conquer the world now.' That’s how I want my audiences to feel... My goal is to make sure there’s another way. There is another way. The only thing is to stay positive, to stop judging others and try to do your best to stay nice. But know that you will have days when you’re mean. You will be vulnerable. You will have attitude and be scared and unsure of who you are. And at times you’ll be like, Is this rejection because of the way I look? But I don’t care. You see me sweat onstage. You see me cussin’ and tired and struggling through that time of the month. And people relate to that more as opposed to someone who is always cute and pulled together, you know?

I forget if it was Rochelle Ferrell or Patti LaBelle who said that you cannot try to be cute and really sing a song.

For real! Uh-uh! How can you be cute, then? Lipstick all in the microphone! Oh my God! Yes, that’s what real singers do. Think about it: You had Sarah Vaughn wearing a big mu-mu and a wig, and she was blowin’! And when she wore a nice, cute dress, she was just as good but not as fierce as she was in the mu-mu and the wig. When she had that on, oh my God, you could feel the song pouring out of her. I loved it. Those were the best times, when she was sweating and just loose...



The rest of the interview can be found in Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints.

Buy the book

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cannot Wait...


Borat was always my least favorite; Bruno and Ali G have my heart. And with this gossip item floating around, I cannot wait for the movie. From FadedYouthBlog:

Sacha Baron Cohen has been all over Kansas terrorizing the quiet city as he films his new Bruno movie about a homosexual Austrian TV host.

The British funnyman has been causing such a ruckus that the Wichita Airport is re-thinking its filming policies, since it had given the crew permission to film a scene last week about a “European man” visiting America, but security workers became concerned when the man stripped down to tight shorts and began kissing, dancing and fighting in the lobby.

It doesn’t end there –SBC and his crew are reported to have disrupted an Easter play at a Kansas church by turning up in “chains.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sight + Sound of the Day

I've had the Ashford & Simpson Hits, Remixes & Rarities CD for a minute now but only broke the shrink-wrap last night, and cannot stop playing it. Disc 1 has the original versions of the curated tunes (including the OG 12" disco versions of "Over and Over," "Tried, Tested and Found True," "Don't Cost You Nothing," and my all time favorite "It Seems to Hang On.") Disc 2 has some smoldering remixes of the same tracks found on Disc 1, with the Tommy Musto "Re-Touch" of "It Seems to Hang On" being straight up aural crack. I can't stop playing it. Musto's reworked the live instrumentation so that it's still warm and hypnotic, layering the background voices ("it seems to hang on..." looped like a bewildered lover's rocking chair hymn) in a way that pays homage to the fact that Nick and Val were not only consummate songwriters, but peerless producers and arrangers who knew how to make the voices they were working with (including their own) shine. In fact, the remix disc shames a whole lotta the "remix" projects that have dropped over the last several years... and with the great Tom Moulton and Paul Simpson on board as just two of the remixers, how could it not? This is disco in all its soulful, funky, genre-busting, evergreen glory. Below are the original "It Seems to Hang On" followed by a live performance of the song by Ashford & Simpson... and then followed by Sylvester's unfuckwitable cover of "Over and Over," a song he simply made his.







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Feedback on Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sight + Sound of the Day



I am seriously in love.

Excerpt from Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints

I interviewed French filmmaker Agnes Varda seven years ago when she visited the U.S. to promote her wonderful documentary The Gleaners & I. Considered by many to be the godmother of the French New Wave, her films are filled with empathy, wit, unforced artistry and boundless intelligence. They’re mandatory viewing. A former art student, Varda was a photojournalist before she was a film director, having only seen five films by the time she started making her own. Her work freely crosses genre lines, drawing from both fiction and documentary in order to reveal their truths. Here is an excerpt from that interview, which is found in whole in my book Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints. Following the interview are clips from her 1968 documentary on the Black Panthers.



Ernest Hardy: You were making independent film before it was really called that. What is your assessment of contemporary independent film?

Agnes Varda: If you call yourself an independent filmmaker, you first have to have an independent mind. It starts up here. [She taps her temple.] Do you really want to do what you have been told to do by your family, friends, or school? I think independence is very difficult because we are raised not to be – by family, school, and religion. They teach us not to be. And sometimes it is good to be part of a collective, fighting together with other people. Now, where independence starts in terms of the industry, it means being able to do alternative cinema out of the mainstream, apart from the big studios who don’t care about us. Because even in France I don’t get the big companies to take me on, to care about me. Still, they sort of admire me. After 46 years of struggle, I get the recognition. I even got a Cesar award. It’s like a lifetime achievement thing. But in France we don’t dare to call it a lifetime achievement because it seems like killing the people. It’s like, “Are you not yet dead or something?” [She laughs.] They gave it to me and they gave it to Jean Luc Godard. I think it’s a good sign. It means that we will never get it through votes. We will never get an award through professional votes because they don’t care for us. It’s a beautiful award. Most of them [awards] are ugly fellows. It’s okay. When you get older they give you something.
      To be an independent filmmaker, you need community, inspiration and patience. This is true. Try to be independent in your mind, which is very difficult. I believe it is still difficult. Try to just open yourself to others. Be curious all the time. If something tickles you, disturbs you, enrages you, you have the beginning of inspiration. We artists need inspiration but we are not full of inspiration. I’m an artist and I sometimes feel I am empty. I really feel that very often – I have nothing to say, no message. I feel like this for months sometimes. I still do things. I work in my company. I take care of other people. But then something comes and off I go. Maybe this is my last film. Maybe something will bring me to do other things. And maybe it’s okay. I have never done a film just because people asked me to do so. You need something trembling in you like you are in love. If I don’t have that, I don’t work. That’s why I did so few films. I made very few films for 46 years. But that’s okay. That’s okay.







How to Buy Blood Beats Vols. 1 and 2 / Correction


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

Buy either Blood Beats book directly from my publisher Redbone Press.
In doing so, you are supporting an indie, black-owned publishing house. You can:


1) Mail your order and a money order or cashier’s check to:

Redbone Press
PO Box 15571
Washington, D.C 2003

2) Phone in your order: 202.667.0392 (Fax: 301.559.5239)
3) Redbone email is: info@redbonepress.com


CORRECTION:

Due to a copyediting error on page 314 of Blood Beats Vol. 2, in the essay titled, "Cross Dressers: Björk and Ryan Shaw Go Genre Bending," the parenthetical phrase "...where she absorbed and recreated iconic jazz divas Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill to tell her tales..." should actually read "...where she absorbed and recreated iconic jazz divas iconic jazz divas, as well as Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill..."

This correction will be made in future printings. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you,
Ernest Hardy and Redbone Press

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quote of the Week

"I start with the recognition that we are at war, and that war is not simply a hot debate between the capitalist camp and the socialist camp over which economic / political / social arrangement will have hegemony in the world. It's not just the battle over turf and who has the right to utilize resources for whomsoever’s benefit. The war is also being fought over the truth: What is the truth about human nature, about the human potential? My responsibility to myself, my neighbors, my family and the human family is to try to tell the truth. That ain't easy... We have rarely been encouraged and equipped to appreciate the fact that the truth works and it releases the Spirit and that it is a joyous thing. We live in a part of the world, for example, that equates criticism with assault, that equates social responsibility with naive idealism, that defines the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and wisdom as fanaticism..."
- Toni Cade Bambara

Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview of the Month (No, I didn't write it...)

Tragic hilarity from DMX, ending with him kinda sorta echoing the sentiments recently expressed by Ishmael Reed.



Are you following the presidential race?

Not at all.

You’re not? You know there’s a Black guy running, Barack Obama and then there’s Hillary Clinton.
His name is Barack?!

Barack Obama, yeah.

Barack?!

Barack.
What the fuck is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa?

Yeah, his dad is from Kenya.

Barack Obama?

Yeah.
What the fuck?! That ain’t no fuckin’ name, yo. That ain’t that nigga’s name. You can’t be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here.

You’re telling me you haven’t heard about him before.
I ain’t really paying much attention.

I mean, it’s pretty big if a Black…
Wow, Barack! The nigga’s name is Barack. Barack? Nigga named Barack Obama. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain’t his fuckin’ name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, “Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit” [laughs] “That ain’t your fuckin’ name.” Your momma ain’t name you no damn Barack.

So you’re not following the race. You can’t vote right?
Nope.

Is that why you’re not following it?
No, because it’s just—it doesn’t matter. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. It doesn’t really make a difference. These are the last years.

But it would be pretty big if we had a first Black president. That would be huge.
I mean, I guess…. What, they gon’ give a dog a bone? There you go. Ooh, we have a Black president now. They should’ve done that shit a long time ago, we wouldn’t be in the fuckin’ position we in now. With world war coming up right now. They done fucked this shit up then give it to the Black people, “Here you take it. Take my mess.”

Full interview here

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Feedback Out-take

Sight + Sound of the Day



This is the sound of my Southern childhood on Sundays. There was so much I hated about church as a young boy that I would often literally become ill while getting dressed to go. But for all the faults I could cite with the black church (and they are many), and while it's not the place I find spiritual solace or locate my "faith" now, I find it hard to be as completely dismissive of it as so many folks I know. Not only because of its immeasurable historical significance to black politics and culture, (a significance that now often darkly shadows clear-eyed evaluation of the modern church's political and cultural roles, its backwardness/hatefulness/impotence) but also because my own family embodies a practice of Christianity that is truly loving and non-judgmental. Neighborhood 'hos and homos, the homeless and the hungry have all found shelter at one point or another in some aunt's/uncle's/mother's home, and that outreach was rooted in my family putting into practice the teachings of Christ as they understood them. The only Sundays I didn't dread (in fact looked forward to) were those that were Women's Day, because then I knew the women's choir would be singing... and they never disappointed me.