My Thoughts on Mr. Martin.

By now, the bone chilling story of Trayvon Martin’s death has been regurgitated to the point of utter exhaustion.  The blogosphere and social media outlets are flooded with tributes and petitions of mindboggling variety, meanwhile, a family in Florida silently mourns the loss the nation’s current posterchild for the vicious cycle of racial violence that stirs below America’s belly.  Somewhere in the midst of things, I sit here with hurt feelings about this young man’s death.

Someone asked me to weigh in on Trayvon Martin’s demise and to them and everyone else I offer this…This is someone’s CHILD…I know it’s a racially charged issue and it’s easy to get caught up in the rage around this young man’s death, but I hurt more for his parents than any of the rest of it. Anyone that knows me or anything about me, know how I feel about my babies. I could never imagine…on any day having do without them…under ANY circumstances…regardless of how they leave, much less to the hands of someone who is clearly rogue in mind and spirit. So for his parents…I can’t imagine and wont try…just thinking about it makes me crazy.

For those who choose to pay tribute, I think that it’s awesome…the hoodies, skittles, Arizona tea…whatever you feel is a adequate tribute to celebrate this young man’s life and cry for justice is great….BUT keep in mind that there is a responsibility in protest. You must be accountable for your actions in ANY forum. The people who protested for civil rights before you didn’t go back to living their lives after they were sprayed, attacked by police and beaten…MLK didn’t stop marching, Malcolm didn’t put the AK down. They sowed seeds of the revolutions that we are a part of and they stood by it to the death. Don’t be the spearheads of a fickle protest…If you aren’t a part of your NAACP’s, neighborhood watches, PTA’s, spending time with our kids and volunteering time to secure the welfare of your children we are part of the problem. If we go back to our regular lives once Mr. Zimmerman is indicted…we lose. That makes it all propaganda.  The issue that I take with it all is that we often allow the media to dictate what battles we choose to fight.  These stories get brought to our attention via whatever news outlet we tune into, meanwhile, the stories of countless others, dont resonate at all.  While we are wearing hoodies for Trayvon, your young girls are being raped, children are being killed by their parents, young men are being  bullied, beaten, and killed by gangs, we lose countless lives to depression and suicides…We have Emmitt Tills already, We have Jena 6 already, We have Sean Bell already…now we add James Craig Anderson and Trayvon to the thousands of innocent lives…hell in our city, we have Wet Willies…We have children getting abducted (Amir Jennings) and we are the biggest threats to ourselves pretty much everywhere. If Trayvon did NOT die we shouldn’t need any additional motivation. We can’t continue to make ourselves susceptible to judgement and exploitation by the people that don’t understand us. So I hope that all who have courage to cry for justice here don’t waver when it gets thick…don’t just protest on Facebook and Twitter among your friends where its safe…The war is going on outside of the known variable…and we cant stop…because that young man fought for his life…and at some point we all will have to fight for something….even your children.

P.S. Geraldo, Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and whoever else had something stupid to say about this incident didn’t matter to me yesterday and don’t today…So if you are wondering how I feel about their statements…Pardon My Back.

 

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The Blacker the Berry……. The Robert Glasper Experiment – “Black Radio” review

Let’s go nerd for a second…

The Law of  the Conservation of Mass/Matter/Energy observes that these entities are not created or destroyed…they simply change from one form to the next… For all technicalities sake, the same can be said for music.  I hear the groans of  my friends all the time…”There is no good music out there” or “…its not how it used to be…”  Much to the contrary my friends, I don’t believe the the quality of the music has weaned at all, but rather the shape of it has.  Case in Point: Robert Glasper’s latest entry, Black Radio.

Robert Glasper is a renowned jazz pianist.  His works resonate loudly amongst the current jazz artists and even amongst some of your favorite R&B and Hip-Hop artists.  For his Black Radio, Glasper clearly flexed his muscles, recruiting Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Ledisi, Bilal, Stokely Williams, Erykah Badu, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, Meshell Ndegeocello, and newcomers KING.  Glasper and The Experiment’s ambitions with the LP was to create a soundscape for what his interpretation of what the radio SHOULD sound like.  At the end of the day, the output is phenominal and modestly placed as  one of the greater musical projects I’ve heard so far this millenium.

There is not a forced record on this project. Intricately done and stitched together with pin point precision, the album smoothly glides from Erykah Badu’s spunky “Afro Blue” to Lalah’s flawless rendition of Sade’s seminal “Cherish The Day”.  Ledisi adds her polished vocals to “F.T.B”,  a Glasper original from his In My Element album and one of the first records that he did that captured my attention.  Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele are magical on “Ahh Yeah” and Stokely (Mint Condition) takes flight on “Why Do We Try”.  The album is both groundbreaking and comfortably sound, backed by Glasper’s superior key work and The Experiment’s excelsior work providing a soundscape that is lush and dreamy.  Their rendition of  Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is awesome and Yasiin Bey’s vocals on the title cut are as crazy as they are passionate.

In closing, I don’t want you too feed too far into this review.  Ultimately I don’t think I do this any album any justice in saying how great it is.  The proof is in the pudding.  I defy anyone who truly loves music to listen to this album and not be captivated by it.  Robert Glasper is easily one of this generation’s jazz music greats and Black Radio validates his chops.  Earlier this year, I predicted that it would be the album of the year–well it met and exceeded my expectations.  I don’t doubt the possibility that there could be a better album to come out this year, but….Good luck…the bar has been set.  Radio programmers take note.