Archive for August, 2010
Funny how history repeats itself… I was just watching the movie ATL, one of my personal favorites. The movie has an all-star cast of every rapper from Atlanta that is a prominent figure in the industry right now. For some reason, it made me think, which cities produce the most successful rappers. The answer came down to New York and Atlanta.
Rap originated in the 70’s in Bronx, NY. Anyone who is familiar with the genre will recognize how far it has come. New York and Atlanta are at two totally different spectrums of the rap industry. Rap music from Atlanta focuses on the beat, rhythm and flow of the song to relate to its crowd. New York rap music focuses more on the lyrics of each song. New York rappers tend to use more toned down beats to allow the audience to listen and center on the voice of the artist. No matter what you’re into, both cities provide music that fits your needs.
The two cities mean so much to black culture. Both cities have historical significance in the black community that influenced black pride, empowerment and self preservation. New York led the way with the Harlem Renaissance and its various connections to the Black Panther party. New York was the birthplace for the Apollo Theatre in 1914. It has been the showcase for some of the most influential and popular African-American performers. Atlanta gave birth to one of the black communities most prized leaders in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the city was also the starting point for many civil rights movements that have paved the way for blacks in today’s society. Atlanta is also the host of the 70’s Soul Jam, which was a celebration of Soulful music that has been a part of the cultural history for blacks. As a result, both cities have a rich history in the art of black entertainment. Themes of black entertainment were positive and uplifting to blacks of that time, it related to their struggle in the early 1900’s… Music today has changed drastically.
The other day, I was listening to the radio and a song called BMF (Blowing Money Fast) by Rick Ross came on. One of the lyrics in the song says, “I think I’m big Meech, Larry Hoover…” Big Meech was the leader of BMF (Black Mafia Family), a drug trafficking organization that originated in Detroit. Larry Hoover was a convicted murderer and the alleged leader of the Gangster Disciples gang that originated in Chicago. These are two power black figures that have helped destroy their communities. The name of the song within itself has a negative connotation. Blowing money fast? A theme completely contrary to what today’s blacks need to learn. Blacks need to learn to save their money instead of investing in materials that have no value over time (Guns and Butter theory). As shown in the song, the lifestyle of drugs, money and gang banging is celebrated and glorified in the black community of today’s world. A world corrupted with negativity.
History has repeated itself in so many different ways and has shown us how much WE have changed. Endless talent in the music industry pours out of both cities. Unlike the talent of yesterday, today’s talent focuses on the more negative aspects of life. Today’s artist aren’t to blame, they are only doing what they’re told. The people want to hear about violence, sex and money. So, they provide that fantasy for the listeners. That is the main reason for the generation gap. Our grandfathers and their grandfathers shake their head in disgust at today’s music. Only because they can’t relate to what the new trending topics are. Today’s blacks have a lot more rights and privileges that used to be denied to Blacks. So, of course the tone and subject to the art of music would be different. But is it right?
Maybe today’s youth need to further educate themselves on the history of blacks in entertainment. New York and Atlanta is the starting point for many artists, maybe we all need to do our research into the rich history of these two cities and see how we can make a change. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that music has made its way back into the palms of these two cities. I think its histories way of getting you to travel to these cities in search of what all the hype is about… and on the way, learn where we all come from and how far Black music has come… It is funny how history repeats itself. Only to show us that change is only good when we can benefit from it.
This post is inspired by Montana Fishburne aka “Chippy D” (Laurence Fishburne’s daughter). She has recently made news headlines with her decision to be become a porn star. You can’t help but feel sorry for Laurence Fishburne. Can you imagine how you would feel if your 18 year old daughter was the talk of the nation for her “performance” in a porn movie? I’m sure many fathers are hanging their head in shame and disbelief.
The humiliation doesn’t stop there, she recently spoke out on her decision to do pornography. She told People Magazine, “It’s something I always wanted to do. I have always been comfortable in my body and with my sexuality.” She is only 18! So this comment confirms she has been practicing in the bedroom for quite some time now.
This whole ordeal has lead me, a father of a 3 year old girl, to worry if I’m raising my child the best way possible. What do I do to keep my child away from that life? Just like Chris Rock (comedian) said… “my job is to keep my daughter off the pole”
We all know the essentials, show your child love, attention and guidance. Those three components are easier said than done. I mean do we know that’s all it takes? Raising a lady in “modern society” is tougher than it’s ever been. It’s hard to teach your daughter to cover up and be “lady-like” when the latest fashions for girl clothing show off as much flesh as possible. There is a new way for women to get attention too. Media sources have made celebrities out of all kinds of classless women. I mean, how many sex-tapes have turned average girls into celebrities? How many times will we see these women become famous for being Tramps? Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are the front-runners for that movement. Karrine Steffans has started another trend that has helped groupies become “stars.“ How? Through “kiss and tell”, sleeping with celebrities and then blogging on the internet about the details of your encounter. It’s the “Ho take-over!”
So, how do you keep your daughter off the pole? Harsher punishments and more strict rules? That’s not the answer because most kids who are sheltered grow up to become wild… so, what is the answer? No one has a real answer for that because every child is different. But, there are general guidelines that should help fathers raise their daughters correctly.
From what I have observed, it’s all up to us as parents. You can’t sit back and have the “They are going to do what they want regardless of what I say” approach. We must make sure that our children see, experience, and live with healthier influences. Whether we like it or not, children learn from what we do, not from what we say. It is important to teach your daughter to embrace imperfections, don’t be ashamed of what you see in the mirror. Being in a healthy, loving relationship yourself will help your daughter to expect the same when it’s her turn to select a partner. I think it’s also important for girls to have other women to look up to. Help her to find strong, successful women she admires (other than her mom, of course). Let them try different things. Let her participate in other activities. Don’t limit her to traditional “girly” toys and activities. If she wants to try boxing or football, let her go for it. As far as discipline goes, I’m a firm believer in “spare the rod, spoil the child.“ A lot of people abuse that method and use it for control. If It’s used improperly, the child will not understand the purpose of spankings and it only teaches them violence.
Let her be herself in any environment. With boys, it’s easy. You just keep them busy and enforce “wrap it up” and go to college. With girls, you need to be very, very delicate!
No matter what, make sure you spend solo time with your daughter. Bond with her on different levels. Let her know that you are more than just a “sperm donor” or “bank account.” Show her that she can come to your for advise even though you are her parent. It may help you get to know her better and recognize the things that make her unique.
I used to read my horoscope almost every day. Questioning how accurate they were in describing my attitude or disposition for that day. Sometimes, it seemed to be true and of course, other times they were false. After a while, I started to dig further. I would read books and articles online to give me a better explanation for how it works. I wanted to see what kind of person I am or could be. At times, I actually came to believe that someone’s birth chart, could teach you about that person’s temperament and how they see the world.
Through conversation, I found that some people get very involved in this belief. They truly believe that zodiac signs tell their fate and hold the key to their future. Often they lean on various sources to give them insight to what will happen next, to some it is guidance, and for others, it is just for fun and entertainment purposes. For me, it was more on the entertainment side of it. I did not even find it ingenuous. I think it is only true if you have faith that it will happen. The whole thing made me wonder… where and when did Zodiac signs get started?
According to Wikipedia, Zodiac denotes an annual cycle of twelve stations along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun across the heavens through the constellations that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude… or whatever that means!
It is funny how history repeats itself because the ancient Greeks planned their lives around astrological influences too. If the sun and planets were positioned in a certain way, the Greeks believed they had an affect a person’s life and future events based on their location.
After a while, it became too much for me. I could not go any further because by giving it that much thought, I was on a path of idolatry. I felt like I was giving these beliefs too much attention. The simple fact that one could dig so deep into a belief that mapping out the stars could predict the occurrences in a day, seemed to be against my religious beliefs. I had to stay away because it became more than entertainment to me. It cannot inform you on how things should be. There was no way I could truly believe that “everything happens for a reason” and that “it’s in God’s hands” then at the same time, believe that I could predict my future. I look at it this way; I am an Aries, who was born in April. My life started at a different point then someone else who was born in April. With the changing seasons, different upbringing, and geographical differences, brings different moods, behaviors and lessons. Signs only explain similarities that each person born within that particular time period share. It does not explain other influences. The fact that your parents could have different signs and different traits can affect who you are and how you handle things. My parents are a Scorpio and a Virgo. While growing up, I might have adopted some of their characteristics that are contrary to an Aries.
Therefore, I do believe that they hold some truth but I am not going to govern my life based on my sign. People find ways to “judge a book by its cover” and this is a primary example. If you fall victim to these beliefs you will have already judged somebody you do not even know. “What did you say your sign is? Oh, you’re one of them!”… That is just not reasonable.