Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Don Cornelius, a class act with a lot of soul

February 1, 2012

Video on CNN.com: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-740045

Summary: Like many across the globe, I would like to say rest in peace to Don Cornelius. He brought us the best in music in a format that has been often imitated, but never duplicated.

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Rapper Common (and hip-hop) will lose in a battle with Drake

January 15, 2012

Video on CNN.com: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-729714

Summary: While Common is lyrically skilled enough to handle Drake in a battle, Common is at a level in his career where he doesn’t need to be battling anyone

Breastfeeding shouldn’t be on Sesame Street

January 15, 2012

Video on CNN.com: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-729675

Summary: While I am definitely not against breastfeeding, I do not believe there need to be sections on Sesame Street dealing with it. What do you think?

RAPping up 2011 (a real rap)!

January 15, 2012

Video on CNN.com: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-724522

I was thinking last night of all the top stories of 2011 and decided, why not have some fun and write another rap! I wrote this! Happy new year!

MJ sneaker riots: what does being poor mean today?

January 15, 2012

Video: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-722157

Seeing riots to pay close to $200 for sneakers has me wondering what does it really mean to be poor in this new millennium.

Kevin Powell is wrong about the elite black athete

October 19, 2011

Earlier this fall, I was vacationing in Puerto Rico with several of my friends. While walking near the coast of an historic castle, I saw one of the cleanest and colorful basketball courts I have ever seen. I looked more closely at the court to try to make out the name of the court. To my amazement, it said “The Carmelo Anthony Court.” I was shocked for two reasons. The first reason is that I was not aware of Carmelo’s half Puerto Rican ancestry. The other reason was that I never heard of this park dedication on the news, which is one of two that Anthony created through his “Courts 4 Kids” program in Puerto Rico.

What I witnessed in Puerto Rico is really at the heart of my frustration with Mr. Kevin Powell’s Ebony Magazine article entitled “The Decline of the Elite Black Athlete.” While well-intentioned, the article serves to scold our young athletes as if they are little careless boys running around like chickens with their heads cut off. He also chides them for not being involved in political issues of the day as iconic athletes such as Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali were. While this may be true to some degree, an argument can be made that elite black male athletes are more engaged in their community and more engaged in being positive role models than they ever have since Jim Brown’s time.

I do not think I could have said this nearly a decade ago. This was around the time where Ron Artest, then with the Indiana Pacers, charged a fan in the stands and initiated what came to be known as the “basket brawl” involving several players and fans. This was the time where the NBA Portland Trailblazers were referred to frequently as the Portland “Jailblazers” due to members of that team frequently being involved with legal matters. Weapons and weed being found in the passenger seats of these athlete’s cars also seemed to be a weekly headline. While Powell’s article takes more of a paternalistic tone, it may have been more appropriate back then, though it may have fallen on deaf ears given that many of these athletes were probably not reading Ebony Magazine. In this new decade, however, the game has changed.

It is important to note that Powell said the “elite” black athlete. Just taking the NBA into account, I think of the elite athletes being Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul. Of course there are others. I cannot think of a single incident where any of these men have been involved in illegal activity. They have not only been upstanding citizens, but also dedicated fathers in the example of Dwayne Wade fighting for his children in a bitter custody battle. Several of them are married or in serious relationships, and they all have some form of foundation such as Carmelo’s where they are investing in athletic endeavors as well as educational programs such as LeBron’s foundation.

Lastly, the NBA lockout has solidified my positive view of these athletes. Without getting paid, these athletes have traveled the country playing basketball and have paid for their own travel arrangements. Ticket prices for these games have ranged from $5-50 in some cases. They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities and have given NBA wannabes a shot at them. Some of these games have taken place at nice colleges, while other games have taken place in some of the most notorious areas of major cities such as Anacostia in Washington DC, where I happen to live. I have seen Kobe Bryant hit game winning shots at the Drew League gym and let kids swamp him who would never have a chance to pay for a game at the Staples Center. To cap it all off, Amare spoke publicly that these players have spoken seriously about starting their own league should the lockout continue. Is that not black entrepreneurship at its best?

It is time that we who have a platform within the black media sphere start celebrating our athletes. Let the rest of the media condemn the thug actions of a select few. The athletes of today will never be able to achieve the political stature of an Ali or Jim Brown because there are not as many examples of overt racism and oppression as existed during those times where the State was just as much the enemy of blacks as the KKK. Having said that, these athletes have flexed their political muscle in support of then-candidate Barack Obama, contrary to Michael Jordan who, at the same age of these players, refused to endorse a democrat for political office because “republicans buy sneakers too.”

Let’s prop up all that is great about our athletes. Most of these men (and women) will not speak about their charitable endeavors so let’s do it for them. During the NFL lockout we have seen a player go into teaching and another player turn down a multi-million dollar contract in order to go to business school. Let’s be the ones responsible for showing our youth how they can look at these athletes as role models. Let’s praise our elders like Magic Johnson and Tony Dungy willing to be mentors. Lastly, let’s not act as if it is only our black athletes have a void to fill in our community as it relates to black male role models. We are missing black male teachers, doctors, lawyers, and others who can be role models. Let’s stop criticizing what we are against and celebrate what we are for and the athletes who represent that in every sense of the word because the elite black athlete is reflecting a positive image on black America that we have not seen in quite some time.

Omékongo Dibinga, M.A., is a diversity consultant, motivational speaker, and musician. He is the author of several books including G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness! 10 Steps To Living Your Best Life and The UPstander’s Guide To An Outstanding Life. He serves as Director for UPstander International. Email him at omekongo@iupstand.com or follow him on Twitter @omekongo.

Bully (a poem)

October 13, 2011

I.

I just don’t feel nothing anymore

School just used to be a bore but now I abhor

It, wanna quit I just can’t take it

Used to front like I was happy now I can’t fake it

Hundreds of kids at my school but I’m alone

Bystanders standin by like talkin’ on phones

Math teacher wants to help but her hands are tied

She can handles squares and tris but can’t deal with bi

Wonder why I can’t cry like I did last year

Live in fear when ears hear being called a “queer”

Queer enough that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all day

Folks come up with the meanest ways to call me gay

G-a-g-a sang today “I was born this way”

But now I wanna die being torn this way

Counselors and principals—no principles

Hung me out to hang myself I’m invisible

 II.

I know you think I don’t see you but my hands are tied

I’m running this school but school’s runnin me I tried

I got teachers wanna help but they need training

But the district cut the budget I keep complaining

Hard to watch what you’re going through it hurts to see

Cause when I was young kids used to pick on me

That’s really why I went into education

To build a place where students could have safe haven

For their dreams but it seems that you’re caught in the seems

You have no idea how much I want to intervene

But I got parents that’ll say that I’m pro-gay rights

Church groups that’ll call me the antichrist

Damn I’ll be damned if I plug this dam

But behind the scenes I swear I’m gonna do what I can

If you could just hold on for just one more day

I’ll do my best to make you feel you belong OK?

 III.

Got this kid at this school that I punched in the face

Didn’t do me no wrong, he was just in my space

Teacher didn’t care, didn’t gimme detention

Kinda crazy cause really I just want some attention

When I’m smackin’ up a kid I’m on top of the world

When I stop I’m nobody, the boys and girls

Don’t pay me no mind unless I’m spendin my time

Callin’ kids names and playing tricks on their mind

But does anyone wonder why I act this way?

Just saw my dad punch my mom in her chest today

Happened right on the street and no one said a word

Guess hittin on people is just how you get heard

So I’m a keep hittin ‘em til folks are hearin’ I’m

Looking for some guidance, an intervention sign

If you could just hear me when all the kids fear me

Maybe I’ll stop bullying  and see my life more clearly

My Name Is Sally Hemings

September 26, 2011

Get your violins out, your flutes and cellos

As I recount my days back in Monticello

The year America breaks from Europe’s chains

I’m still a slave shackled in America’s chains

And I’ll make it plain I was more than a slave

A founding father found me and he couldn’t behave

Y’all can call him what you want, America’s son

I call him a rapist under Virginia’s sun

Put him in the books for the country he claimed

But me, I’m just a blip y’all don’t know my name

Know nothing about from whence I came

Call me Sally or Sarah, some say I’m to blame

But I ain’t ask for this I was part of a deal

So hear my story as a slave just recountin’ the real

While Jefferson was workin’ so hard to plant nation

I was his concubine on his plantation

Tried to make it slick and just call me a nurse

While I was savin’ lives they put my soul in a hearse

Doin’ nothing but my best to help heal Mary

Then she go to sleep and I’m screamin’ hail Marys

Prayin’ I won’t be raped by this man so scary

Y’all venerate this man but on the contrary

I was in the room taking care of wardrobe

He comin’ from behind and he never wore clothes

Now he comin’ from behind and I’m caught in the throws

I’m special, presidential w-h-o

R-e, he birthed nation, I birthed his kids see

Y’all see his face everywhere but mine don’t exist see

I’m Sally Hemings case you didn’t know

And I was more than a slave more than Jefferson’s ho

So know my story it’s an American classic

How I survived for centuries from life so tragic

See I rep for my sisters that you’ll never know

The ones mastered by the masters, sexed on the low

Y’all say it was just a sign of the times

Then you rewrite history, rewrite the lines

But I ain’t ask for this and some say it’s my fault

Look down at my sisters now it’s still their fault

Janet sabotaged her bra, it wasn’t Justin

Rihanna pissed off Chris Brown—musta been

Tina Ike-d up just cause she tried to mic-up

Anita knocked off the Hill she tried to rise up

Halle Berry had it comin’ who she think she be

Damn… in retro she kinda look like me

But I digress, I distress when I have to digest

Centuries of women being blamed for men stress

But until we tell our story won’t nobody care

So sisters rise up and tell your tales without fear

X-Men: it’s realer than you think…

June 29, 2011

Video: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-611826

There are several reasons I have remained an X-Men fan over the years. Of course, as a kid, my siblings and I couldn’t understand why these preteens got all sad when they got their powers. WE wanted those powers to take care of some bullies at school! More seriously though, it’s the way X-Men has always paralleled with the real world that made me a fan. The constant theme of “People fear what they don’t understand” is what defines most of America’s issues, especially with racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. Many don’t know that Professor X & Dr. King were based off of Dr. King & Malcolm X. When I saw Stan Lee mention this in an interview, it blew me away. With characters like that at the core of X-Men, the comic will always stay relevant. More of us should pay attention as the comic gets a reboot with “X-Men: 1st Class”.

Oprah helped change my life

May 16, 2011

Video: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-605180

From teaching me the true joy that comes from giving to inspiring me to get my own TV show to continue her mission, Oprah has truly inspired me to live my best life and help others do the same. I’ve been in her presence twice: at the Oscar After Party in LA and at her “Live Your Best Life Weekend” in NY. I would love to just meet her and say thanks but until then (and after), i’ll keep working to improve humanity and make people feel good about themselves, just like she did.