Posts Tagged ‘Jay-z’

Occupy All Streets (a poem)

December 1, 2011

Occupy, occupy, occupy 
We the people stand up won’t be pacified 
Take a step back let me testify 
See millions of people wanna test a lie 
That says we need corporations to run our lives 
But the 99 say it’s time to run our lives 
So we gonna take a seat to stand up for the people 
And we ain’t gonna stop til the laws make us equal 
If the government wanna save banks with bailouts 
We gonna kick em out of office, get them the hell out 
We’re creating real change from the bottom up 
So our children have a chance to live better than us 
So we gonna occupy all streets starting with Wall Street 
Takin’ down predators who prey while we all sleep 
So let’s show the world that we’ll have no compromise 
And let the world see the revolution be televised 

If in Egypt they overthrew Mubarak 
We can change leaders too, go beyond the barracks 
No more Qaddafi in Libya 
They can only hold on so long in Syria 
When the people stand up can’t no one stop us 
From Congo to Cali we gon’ stop the robbers 
They can pepper spray our students, bloody our soldiers 
We just come back like an avalanche droppin’ boulders 
With the weight of the future resting on our shoulders 
Won’t stop til this corporate culture of greed is over 
Whileschool’s crumbling and the gulf coast getting pummeled 
Billionaire execs livin’ life in a bubble 
Making billions by the day trough tax loops and tradeoffs 
When many should be going the way of Madoff 
Too many layoffs while CEOs made off 
But if we keep fighting we’ll see the payoff 

Finland to Japan upstanders stand 
From the U.K. and Sweden to the Netherlands 
Across U.S. cities we ain’t lookin’ for pity 
We’re lookin’ for a slice of the p-i-e 
Some of us still believe in the American dream 
But now it’s time you really hear Americans scream 
Screaming for laws that protect every body 
And not just those who can afford to lobby 
So we gonna show up in your corporate lobby 
Gonna show up on your golf course disrupt your hobbies 
We real people creating real change for tomorrow 
With human currency that the banks can’t borrow 
You can’t prey on our spirits like you do on our wallets 
The government’s bluffin’, and yeah we just called it 
At the end of the day all we need is us 
So let’s occupy the planet til they listen up!

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Are all successful black people in the Illuminati?

January 20, 2010

Are claims about Jay-Z being in the Illuminati just an excuse for unsuccessful people to not pursue their own greatness? Isn’t it like saying “he got to this level because of a sworn pact. I won’t sell myself to the devil…thus i will be destined to be where i’m at.”

I don’t hear successful people arguing about this and I don’t hear rumors about guys like Canibus being in the Illuminati given that he’s not as successful. Why does every successful black person have to be in a secret society?

Obama’s effect on this black man and many others!

November 1, 2009

CNN iReport: “Obama’s effect on this black man and many others!: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-348260

Post looks at Obama’s effect not only on me, but on many of my students. Across the country, I speak to Black men with a limited vision of what they can be. As Jay-Z said, the day Obama one, the gangster became less relevant and that’s real. Kids in my school were coming in with Obama shirts and not Tupac and Biggie shirts. That’s a great step forward. Obama has helped me as a father as well as expanded my possibilities of what I believe I can become if I choose. I have no more boundaries and many of our youth believe that now too! I am also happy that he has called out black fathers and he needs to keep that going! Rock on Mr. President!

Oprah! Hate of the term “nigga” is NOT generational!

September 25, 2009

This is in response to a conversation Jay-Z & Oprah had about the word “nigga” (or “N-word”) on her show.

While I am fans of both Jay-Z and Oprah, I am so sick of people saying the “N-word” is generational. I’m 33. I’m a rapper , motivational speaker, and diversity educator. Most of my black friends hate the n-word and none of my non-black friends use it. Furthermore, most of the teens I speak to across the country are still uncomfortable with it. To say it’s generational is a cop out. As much as I really love Oprah, I’ve noticed that, even though she disagrees with the “n-word” in rap, all the rappers she has ever had on the show still use the term. Will Smith was there as an actor so I don’t count that. It’s easy to believe that my generation has embraced the term because no one wants to give us positive rappers a shot in the spotlight. We can’t get record deals, and can’t get on shows from Oprah to O’Reilly, etc. We’re making music kids can listen to, but most of us are balancing making music versus working a 9-5, living with our parents even though we have our own families, and some have given up on being positive and have gone back to selling drugs to get by.

I believe the whole movement for clean music was a lie. Us clean, non-“n-word” using artists are alive and kicking but you’d never know it when you turn on the radio or TV. We have been the ones practicing what Oprah has preached and we have been staunch defenders of Oprah in her hip-hop wars. I feel like it was all in vein. Don’t know if we’ve lost yet, but we’re definitely losing. All we want is a shot, and I don’t mean with a gun.

Oprah & Gayle King: hypocritical on hip-hop

August 16, 2009

I listened to a recent radio interview with Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey (listen here). In the interview, Oprah was speaking about how she feels like she made a new best friend in Jay-Z. They argued over who had a bigger crush on him as well. As usual, Oprah stated that she disagrees with some of his lyrics, but that obviously means that she can still talk with him. No disagreements here. The problem came when Gayle King stated emphatically that she “loves Jay-Z’s lyrics.” Oprah asked if she meant the beats or some of the songs and Gayle King clearly said she loves the lyrics. This is hypocrisy at its best and truly unfortunate for us positive rappers.

Oprah and Gayle have arguably done more to raise the self esteem of girls around the world than anyone. Whether it’s Oprah’s school for girls in South Africa or the countless projects they have going on across this country like “O Magazine”, they have been consistent in their mission to give girls a positive view of themselves. So why does Gayle love Jay-Z’s lyrics? I have a great deal of respect for Jay-Z as a businessman and humanitarian. As a rapper myself, I obviously respect the way he puts his words together. He’s the best at that in my eyes. But how can I love lyrics like:

I came in your Betley back seat, skeeted (ejaculated) in your jeep
Left condoms on your baby seat
And since you infatuated with sayin’ that gay shit
Guess you was kissin’ my dick when you was kissin’ that bitch

Is this the embodiment of Jay’s work? Of course not. He’s also dropped classic lines like:

See Martin, see Malcolm
See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
See Jesus, See Judas
See Caesar, see Brutus
See success is like suicide, suicide, it’s a suicide
If you succeed, prepare to be crucified

Like any artist or even any individual, Jay’s work reflects a range of emotion. However for people like Gayle to say she loves his lyrics wholeheartedly is not only a complete endorsement of all of his music to young girls (and boys), but it is also a smack in the face of those of us who practiced what Oprah preached. Everyone from Oprah to Bill O’Reilly has preached that we should have cleaner music but they never endorse artists whose music is clean. Every rapper from Common to Diddy who Oprah has had on her show or in her magazine has used misogynistic lyrics at some point. Conversely, so many positive rappers I know have to work second jobs or are forced to move back in with their parents because of the economy. Oprah can singlehandedly change the direction of some of this by helping to celebrate these artists. Just as her book club has helped the careers of others, a positive music club could do the same thing.

As a positive rapper myself, I was saddened by Gayle’s comments for two reasons. One reason is that it’s rappers like me and others who have been actively out there supporting Oprah when many in the hip-hop community attacked her for asking for clean music. You can read one of my blogs on this written 3 years ago right here. Despite this fact, she still sees it fit to bring on people who have dismissed her or her message. That’s her prerogative but when will we get our shot? When will those of us who actually do what she asked for get our say on her show? Many of us positive musicians are active parents, pursuing academic degrees, and are avoiding trouble with the law. We don’t rap about sex, drugs, or violence. These are all the things she claims she wants to see but does not actively support.

Lastly, it is we positive rappers who are going into schools, community centers, and even prisons to combat the negative music that is shown to youth around the globe on a daily basis. We are doing the groundwork on this. Much of what we may try to accomplish gets shot down in a 3-minute video on BET or MTV. The messages we try to spread will now get quicker dismissal from our youth with Oprah giving these artists more validation. It’s like in her earlier days when she decided to stop having racists on her show because she felt she was helping them grow their audience. She then focused more on people who were race healers and not race haters. Is it not the same with only having rappers on who have a history of misogyny? Why not support those who uplift women as opposed to condemn them? Who’s next to appear on the show or in the magazine? Lil’ Wayne? What about those of us who got it right the first time?

At the end of the day, I am glad that I listened to people like Oprah and became a positive artist. I like the fact that my music does not disgrace my sisters, my mother, my wife, or my daughters. I enjoy the fact that though some may not agree with my messages on social issues, they at least don’t feel like they have to go home and detoxify their daughters of the negative words I used to describe them. Whether people like Oprah choose to acknowledge or even support guys like us who are not going to get record deals or mass exposure is now irrelevant to me. I can’t wait for that. I’ve learned that this whole movement for clean music was a lie. I’ve learned that many in the media can make their careers talking about what they are against as opposed to what they’re for. This is not entirely true for Oprah, but I just wish she would stop making our job harder.

Chris Brown Beats Up Rihanna? So What?

February 20, 2009

The media is still buzzing over the assault of R&B singer Chris Brown on Rihanna. I do not have to say “alleged” assault because he already apologized for what transpired. My thoughts and prayers immediately went out to Rihanna and all of her family who have to experience this directly. My prayers also go out to Chris Brown because anyone who could engage in an attack such as he did truly needs help. After my prayers are done, however, my thoughts immediately turned to accountability and how Chris Brown will most likely have little to no accountability for his actions. I speak using recent history as my judge. If the examples of Lil’ Kim, Michael Vick, and Martha Stewart are my guides, Chris Brown will be back on top of the world in little time.

I’m no psychic, but this is what I envision will happen. Chris Brown will find Jesus. He will lose a few more endorsements. There will be a trial and he will get off. Actually, if he really wants street cred, he will go to jail. He’ll do the talk show circuit, a reality show, write a book, and move on and this will soon be a memory. That’s just how it is in America today when you have talent and you live in a society that still fundamentally hates women. I believe in forgiveness but I also believe in true come-up-ins and real accountability. Let’s look at history.

Lil’ Kim was convicted of a crime and before she went to jail, there was a reality show about her final days which received very high ratings. She’s back out and it’s as if she is more popular for being incarcerated. She did not lose a record deal or have her music banned. Martha Stewart also spent time in the big house for perjury and her product sales soared. Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting circuit but luckily for him, he is still young. There is no doubt in my mind that he will play again in the NFL because he has talent. If you can entertain, you will be OK in this society because there are no real penalties for breaking the law. If you don’t believe the examples I just sighted, how many rappers openly rhyme about selling drugs in their music? How many have been incarcerated because of it? Like Jay-Z said:

I do this in my sleep

I sold kilos of coke

I’m guessing I can sell CDs

Why is it that celebrities are not dropped from record labels or TV deals and contracts for committing the most heinous crimes? Reverend Al Sharpton once tried to have a 3-month radio ban from artists who are convicted of a crime and folks pretty much ran him out of town. Currently, if you get convicted, you seem to get more play as if you died and were being given a tribute. The radio hosts will introduce each song with a “hold ya head up” and it’s all good. Ask yourself this question: why is it that celebrities can generally lose contracts with their companies or get fined for not showing up to a game, poor sales or poor conditioning, but not be dropped for physical and sexual assault, robbery, drug possession, or kidnapping? The answer to this question gets to the root of our money, talent, and influence but no morality rules in this society. Is this what we want our kids to see?

Back to the misogyny. If you go online now, you will find that many people are actually blaming Rihanna for the attack saying that she gave Brown an STD or some other reason. This is an argument that people are actually entertaining. Should we be surprised? We name shirts after abusive husbands—wifebeaters. I’ve actually heard department store employees (male & female) refer to A-shirts with that term. We treat women in the media as sex objects, many of our TV shows are actually soft porn, and most female rappers today have to sell sex to get signed. The days of Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill are long gone.

Now I know women have made a great deal of progress over the last century, but I believe that it in spite of the values we place on this society, not because of them. The venom spewed at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin proved that hands down. It is my hope that this recent incantation of misogyny can lead us towards a productive dialogue on domestic violence. I hope Chris Brown gets the help he needs and the punishment he deserves. I hope Rihanna will not be silent on this issue because many of her fans experiencing the same thing will continue to stay silent and blame themselves until they are killed. Most importantly for me, however, is the hope that we will really take a look at how we value each other in this society. Our kids are watching us just like Chris Brown watched his abusive father beat his mother as a child. We cannot let another generation become maligned with the massive media messages of misogyny. Let’s heal ourselves.