Pop Culture


Though I became a fan of the animated series, I first fell in love with The Boondocks when it was a syndicated comic strip. Through the strip, Aaron McGruder offered commentary on current events from politics to pop culture in poignant and hilarious fashion.

Today marked the first day of the Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the US, and I genuinely wonder what McGruder would have conjured up to mark the occasion. I guess I’ll have to settle for this gem from several years ago:

(click the image to enlarge)

May 3, 2005

VCF

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“In the Black Panther party, we failed because we took God out. I beg you not to do the same thing.”

I know I needed to hear her words today. Thanks Davey D making her words available to the public.

VCF

——

Revolutionary Situation: 2Pac’s Mom Brings Serious Heat
Breakdown FM with Davey D
April 11, 2008

Afeni Shakur

Many people forget that 2Pac’s mother Afeni Shakur was a Black Panther who was really ’bout it ’bout it back in the days.

She was pregnent with 2Pac when she went on trial as part of the infamous NY Panther 21.

This sista has always put in work for the community, and while she did have some momentary setbacks which were described by 2Pac in some of his songs, after his death Afeni has emerged stronger then ever.

She is still a freedom fighter.

The other week she came to Memphis, Tennessee for the Dream Reborn Conference and delivered a blistering speech about the direction Hip Hop and Hip Hop activists must take going into the 21st century. She was quite clear about us owning land, starting our own businesses and being spiritually grounded. Her speech drew a rousing standing ovation. 2Pac’s mom is no joke.

Click here for audio of Afeni Shakur’s speech.

Redemption Song and Dance:
Little Melvin Williams Is Not The Deacon He Played On The Wire
City Paper (Baltimore, MD)
By Van Smith

Published on: 3/19/2008

Melvin Williams

“I’m sorry I let you in the door,” Melvin Williams says as he ushers a reporter out of his warehouse office to the sidewalk outside, where the conversation continues. The old gangster has long been called “Little Melvin,” and he’s dressed all in black, save a blue handkerchief wrapped around his ankle that peeks out from below the hem of his left pant leg. He quotes the Bible, chapter and verse, and condemns the visitor as a “troublemaker” and a “snoop,” and he casts himself as “a peacemaker.” Evidence of this last claim comes when he shakes an offered hand as the time comes to say goodbye.

Williams’ righteous indignation is entirely in keeping with his current reputation as the wizened, redeemed OG aiming to keep souls out of the drug game, an image he earned playing a church deacon on the HBO television series The Wire. He’d lived up to his prior persona–the fearsome drug kingpin–until 1996, when he confirms he “saw God.” He then was nearing the end of a lengthy federal prison sentence, begun in the 1980s, for his leadership role in introducing bulk shipments of heroin to Baltimore. Williams became a bail bondsman after his release, but caught a gun conviction in 2000, earning a new 22-year sentence from U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis. In 2003, though, Garbis removed the career-criminal mantle he’d previously draped over Williams’ shoulders and set him free (“Little Melvin’s Holiday,” The Nose, Jan. 22, 2003). The old gangster’s public redemption was aided further by his Wire appearances as a man of God.

continued…

Fo He Has Risen

Gotta love my people.  Risen indeed.

VCF

When I saw this a couple of weeks ago on CNN I jumped out of my seat. Charles Barkley puts it down. I know he published a book titled Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man?, but by calling the religious right “fake Christians,”openly advocating women’s right to choose, and taking an affirmative stance on gay marriage, Sir Charles may be on his way to being born again as a New Black Man.

VCF

This spiritual has gone through many incarnations from the cotton fields of the South to Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist to MTV.

This version is my favorite right now:

Lizz Wright live in Basel, Switzerland November 2005 with Marvin Sewell-guitar, Ede Wright-guitar, Massimo Biolcati-bass, Rock Deadrick-drums.

I walk by faith and not by sight
Embrace my struggles
Endure my plight
I fear no man
I know wrong from right
We’re pushin’ ’til the day we see the light!

from “Push” by Pharoahe Monche featuring MeLa Machinko & Showtyme

I bought the latest album from Pharoahe Monch. Admittedly, I missed out on Organized Konfusion and Internal Affairs, but I’m so glad that I got on board for Desire.

Pharoahe firmly places himself in the tradition of black sacred protest music by opening this disc with a rendition of the Negro Spiritual ‘Oh Freedom’ followed by his own hip-hop articulation with ‘Free.’

Then (a la Curtis Mayfield) he encourages his listeners to “keep on pushing” through the struggle with ‘Push’ and reinterprets Public Enemy’s ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ for 2007 (“No need to question who I am…GOD KNOWS!).

In the process, Monch invokes three generations of black protest music: negro spirituals, 70’s soul, and hip-hop’s “golden era” without missing a beat.

Impressive, if you ask me.

VCF

——

from myspace.com/pharoahemonch

THE “INTRO” TO DESIRE

Often times in the history of our planet, opressed people of all races, colors, and religous backgrounds, used prayer and harmonious vocals to sing there way through turbulent times. Free, is an old Negro Spiritual in which slaves reassured there commitment with God, rather than do the bidding of the slave masters.

This “Intro” to my album, has made me cry at least 15 times since it has been recorded. It is not only an ode to those who endured far more than I could ever fathom, but a metaphor for true artists who refuse to conform.

I would like to thank, Showtyme, Mela Machinko, Lenesha Randolph, and Candice Anderson for their contribution to my tears, as we began the journey into Desire. I truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank each and every individual fan and friend who endured this painful wait, by my side.

thank you.

(pharoahe monch)

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