Saturday, August 29, 2015

Trumpla: Political Reality TV

Trumpla: Political Reality TV

While out in DC recently I had the pleasure of running into White House Commentator/Georgetown Adjunct Professor Jon-Christopher Bua. JC covers international politics and writes for a few publications including the UK Huffington Post. We had an excellent discussion on foreign political processes, the 2016 Presidential Election, some of his work media training campaign spokespeople and his course at Georgetown 'Politics and The Media: an American-European Perspective'. One of his latest pieces you should check out is called Donald Trump vs Everyone: Do TV Debates Really Matter and to stay in tune you can follow him on twitter: @JCBua

Morton Downey Jr. Show 

In a reality tv society where the best press is bad press, all of this 'Trumpla' and his stagecraft antics have forged him into a one man Morton Downey Jr. show; a true pioneer of political trash tv. Like him or not, the guy is entertaining and represents the voice of millions of Americans who think and feel the exact same way. 

Like the 1980's era that catapulted Morton Downey Jr. into a pop culture celebrity, the same trend is happening with Donald Trump. To give you a sense of his popular culture impact consider the fact that his name has been dropped in rap lyrics at least 67 times by popular artists over the last 25 years. In terms of popularity, Trump is almost peerless in comparison to other presidential candidates except for Deez Nuts -no pun intended. Unlike Canada or other places where citizens vote for political parties represented by candidates, American citizens vote for the popular guy, not political platforms. Couple that kind of political process with an uneducated apathetic electorate and this is exactly what we see is exactly what we get.

Know Nothing Party political rhetoric  

Two things I wanted to point out about Donald Trump is his 'whig' and no nothing political platform. When I say whig I'm not talking about the spider monkey hairpiece on his head. I'm talking about his Whig Party perspectives. In the mid 1800s, the Whig Party  were known as American Patriots, anti-Democratic and took many conservative stances that would be considered 'far right' today such as occupational prestige and upper class opportunism. Eventually succeeded by the Republican Party, Whigs were also said to be many things to many people, willing to abandon core convictions for the purpose of gaining political clout. Ironically the word whig is derived from the Scottish word 'whiggamore' and Donald Trump shares Scottish ancestry; his mother Mary Anne MacLeod was from the island of Lewis on the west coast of Scotland. In regards to Trump's no nothing political platform, his views are reflective of The Know Nothing Party’s xenophobic (fear or dislike of foreigners/outsiders), anti-immigration/naturalization sentiments. Also active in the mid 1800s, The Know Nothing's were a party who viewed themselves as the true Native Americans and only accepted membership of Protestant males born of British ancestry. They were also considered semi-secret because its members were instructed to reply, “I know nothing” if asked about the Party’s activities. Unlike today, xenophobic, anti-immigration/naturalization and anchor baby sentiments are not a secret; every time Trump opens up his mouth it's clear he doesn't 'know nothing' about how to address certain national and foreign policies. 

In the final analysis I think it's important that we understand that things happen in cycles, including political philosophies. Technology wise, we just have easier access to some of the same ideologies that built or destroyed this country in the past. In order to be an educated electorate we must be aware of this. I don't have a prediction on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election because it's still too early to tell who corporate America will choose to represent their interests. What I will say is that we cannot underestimate the power of popularity vs political platforms. A little over a decade ago the Morton Downey Jr. Show set a rachet television precedence and helped pave the way for reality television. Today we have a new kid on the block leading the same flock and it's going to be hard to trump that.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Original Woman and Planet Earth

The Original Woman
Planet Earth

Within Five Percenter culture, one of the common phrases people may hear us use is, "The original woman [black woman] is the Earth." Have you ever really considered what this means? I once heard a female say, "It means she's dirt", which is as far from the truth as Meek Mill's diss track response to Drake. Anyway, some of my female readers have been reaching out to me requesting that I elaborate on this perspective further and here it is.

We consider the original woman [black woman] the Earth because she corresponds to our planet. Meaning, she is parallel or equivalent to it in form, character and function. When we say 'black' we are referring to all women of color; from the darkest shade of black to the lightest shade of black. As black is the essence from which all color is derived, these melanated shades are gradations of that source. When it comes to geography, the study of describing the Earth, our planet has various shades [gradations] of soil yet it's still one planet. Human [hue-man] geography is likewise the same; as people of color we're one original family. I think it's important to clarify this because some people may think that being dark skinned is what solely makes us original or first. That is not entirely true because regardless how much melanin we have, we still may be last in a lot of things in life -including intellectual maturity. So in addition to color, we must also consider consciousness and cultural orientation when it comes to what being original means.

Various classical and indigenous societies view the original woman as Mother Earth, the Great Mother and Mother Nature because of her form, character and function -such as her physical composition, atmosphere and ability to birth and sustain life. One of the first things to keep in mind about the Earth is that it's a terrestrial planet. That's where the name 'Earth' is derived; the Latin root "Terra", the root word of terrestrial meaning 'of the land.' This means that our planet possesses a solid surface and a metallic core. This core is the source of Earth's geomagnetic field that shield's it from cosmic radiation. The Earth also has four different layers: an inner core, outer core, mantle and crust [surface]. Lastly, Earth is distinguished from the other terrestrial planets Mercury, Venus and Mars because it possesses water which is vital for life as we know it. All of these qualities have a symbolic relationship to the original woman. In regards to the Earth's primarily Iron [Fe] core, the source of its geomagnetic field that shield's it from cosmic radiation, iron is considered the life-force of the Earth in some societies such as the Aborigines of Australia. As a life-force of the Earth, it symbolizes a woman's vitality, integrity, resilience, strength and fortitude. In regards to functioning as a geomagnetic shield, that symbolizes a woman's protective instinct against outside danger. The four different layers of the Earth symbolize the layers of a woman. The crust is the surface or most outer layer of the Earth. This represents what and how we physically see a woman; this is her appearance. The mantle is the second layer or what lies just beneath the surface; as a mantle is that which cloaks, shrouds or disguises. Also keep in mind that movement of the mantle causes tectonic activity such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on the crust, her surface. In symbolic terms, sometimes it's something lying just beneath the surface, that's undetected by the naked eye, that causes the unstable activity we see on the outside. The hottest and deepest layers of the Earth are the outer and inner core which are primarily composed of iron and nickel, thus making the planet magnetic. It is in this interior place that our Earth derives its magnetic field; its North and South Poles [compass]. In symbolic terms, internally is where you'll find the core convictions and source of a woman's moral compass and sense of direction. As the Earth possesses other precious metals and minerals that develop within it's womb, women possess the ability to develop precious life within their womb; children. The Earth's weather is primarily determined by the state of its atmosphere, as a woman's mood is partly determined by the state of her emotional atmosphere. The Earth's magnetic relationship with the Moon's 28 day lunar cycle effects our planet's tides the same way a woman's 28 day menstrual cycle effects her emotional tides that are linked to her sympathetic nervous system that partly regulates her hormones and body's ability to cope with stress. As hunter gatherers that eventually transitioned into agriculture and industrialism, we directly consulted with women who were biologically in tune with our landscape, planting and harvest seasons. As forecasters, their wisdom and guidance was critical to our survival and that consultation also corresponds to the creation of calendars based upon a 28 lunar and her 28 day menstrual cycle. Among many societies, a woman is seen as an oracle [diviner] within its cultural matrix because of her intuition, what our southern relatives call "mother wit" and what Western Philosophy has come to define as a priori knowledge. In Greece for example, she was the priestess Pythia; central figure of the Gaia [Earth] society and Oracle of Delphi men would consult for guidance on the seventh day of each month.

Divine Iz Earth [photo credit: Rugged Vision]

Women defining themselves as the Earth is not a Five Percenter trademark nor is it our intellectual property. That idea has existed for many years, in different geographic locations and among various societies before there was a North America and the Father was born. Culturally speaking, how we define, articulate and apply that idea as Five Percenters is unique to us, and how we define and articulate those parallels are customarily represented by our women. So for example, as the Earth is covered 3/4th's under water, 139,685,000 square miles of water and 57,255,000 square miles of land, Five Percent women dress modestly; clothing themselves 3/4th's as various other women around the planet likewise do. Something that also distinguishes Earths are the customary head wraps [crowns] they wear. We consider all of this her refinement because that style of dress reflects a sense of decency, cultural elegance, sophistication and grace. To learn more about refinement you can check out the blog of Izayaa Allat. Nutritionally, and to promote optimum health, our women strive to not pollute their bodies the same way many of our ancestors did not pollute, defile or desecrate themselves or the Earth. Therefore, our women strive to make certain dietary choices and engage in those people activities that help them maintain a positive physical, emotional, mental and financial state. As men we strive to reciprocate that state by making corresponding dietary choices and engaging in those people activities that help us maintain a positive physical, emotional, mental and financial relationship with our woman, and the planet Earth. The Earth rotates on its own axis yet revolves around the Sun. The rotation, travelling 1,037 1/3 mph, is symbolic to a woman's autonomy, identity, self-determination and purpose. It's her motion, personally. The Earth's revolution is her motion around another body; her orbital relation to the Sun within the context of our solar system. In symbolic terms, as man corresponds to the Sun, a woman's revolution as the Earth is her interdependent role and relationship within the nuclear family.

These are just a few of the countless examples why we as Five Percenters, and various societies around the world, view the original woman as the Earth's twin. Even if we were to say a woman were a Goddess, as a deity she still maintains a terrestrial correspondence and is personified/defined according to earthen qualities. So there is no way around, below, above or through that; a woman is analogous to the Earth. I think it's also important to note that just because a woman doesn't call herself the Earth within the context of the Five Percent, it doesn't mean that she's not functionally corresponding to the Earth. There are various indigenous societies who have never heard of Five Percenters that equate their women as the Earth and who've been successfully expressing that worldview for hundreds of years. There are also various women today who live by non-Western cultural norms that are Earth-centered. It's likewise true that just because a woman calls herself the Earth it doesn't mean that she automatically corresponds to that. Some women, and people for that matter, are more aligned than others, regardless what we call or don't call ourselves.

In closing I want to remind those of you who have read this intellectual breakdown of the original woman's correspondence to the Earth that it does not substitute learning from, walking with and having an actual relationship with the true and living Earth. As a male/man, I do not correspond to the Earth and there are many things I am not personally qualified to speak on. That is the role and responsibility of the Earth, not the Sun; I am simply shedding light. So in addition to reading these articles, my books and watching my videos I strongly encourage you, particularly women who are interested in learning more about the Earth, to do so from the true and living Earth. You can email me directly at: and I can strive to connect you with the sisters I know in your respective regions.


Saturday, August 01, 2015

Battle Royal

 Battle Royal
When the media coverage of Meek Mill vs. Drake first went viral I excited me! Not as a fan of their work but as a lyricist, poet and outright music enthusiast. This moment put the focus back on lyrics. The last time the mainstream or general public were really interested and concerned about what someone had to actually say was that BET cipher verse by ‪‎Kendrick Lamar when he put the entire industry on notice. To this day NO ONE has reasonably responded to that. Do you know who truly listens, dissects and critically analyzes rhymes regardless to whom or what? Rap Enthusiasts  who genuinely appreciate lyrics, poets/spoken word artists, battle rappers and emcees/femcees. Last week 85% of the mainstream audience were just bobbin' they head to beats.

Another thing that I appreciate about this situation is it's potentiality to bring out the best lyrical content of artists. Busy Bee Starski vs. Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J vs. Canibus, Jay-Z vs. Nas, KRS One vs. MC Shan, Ice Cube vs. Common and etc. are all instances where artists came with their best. As long as it doesn't go waaaaay left on some government co-opted Tupac/Biggie scenario it's a healthy landmark moment for Hip Hop‬ in general and rap music specifically. Something else I've considered is its economic stimulus. The peripheral memes, videos, vintage tees, product placement and co-signs that not only generates web traffic but creates commerce is important. When Drake dropped his second Meek diss track Back To Back he used a picture of forgotten "World Series Hero" Joe Carter after hitting a three run homer to beat the Philadelphia Phillies. We would be na├»ve to believe that people didn't go out and buy Joe Carter paraphernalia that day? Brilliant! Drake also made good on his lyrics by sending Charlemagne‬ 6 bottles of Dom P.. That was dope yet imagine if he would used his celebrity to get behind an up and coming entrepreneur and support their brand of alcohol by sending it to Charlemagne. What if Meek Mill responded by talking about charity work he's done for the Blackstone Foundation Library in Toronto? Personally I would love to see instances like this used to better empower everyday people and support local businesses.

After all of this Meek Mill finally came back with his response entitled Wanna Know which was wack from my perspective. His words weren't clear, Funk Flex added his theatrical explosions, there were samples and anything else you can imagine that distracts a listener. Although many people, including Philadelphians, expected more I still appreciate this moment in Hip Hop. Politically speaking it's no different than lobby groups putting the pressure on public officials to respond to a current situation. In rap music, people, not necessarily artists, oftentimes don't have this kind of pressure on them -especially when they're mainstream [Top 40]. Therefore, they say, do and sell whatever they want to the public. In this instance the lobby groups were everyday people using social media and hashtags to call for a response and we got one. Some may not realize this power to social economically engineer events and the growing political consciousness of the people but it's happening.

Almost three decades ago The Cosby Show highlighted an upper middle-class African-American family living in Brooklyn in the beginning of the golden era of Hip Hop‬. Yet the first time the culture was explicitly addressed/introduced was on a Season 2 Episode when the children were in the studio with Stevie Wonder and he sampled their voices and produced a beat with a synclavier. This was 1986 when Run DMC, Just Ice, Salt and Pepa, Steady B, The Beastie Boys, Afrika Bambaataa, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, Too Short and others were making their mark within the chronology of rap music. At this time rap was still mocked as "jungle music", marginally accepted and Stevie Wonder served as an ambassador for a sound, creative process and exposure to a culture that would ultimately reshape the world. We have come a long way from this mainstream moment of time. Now it's common to hear some element of Hip Hop culture in every facet of television and radio globally. It doesn't mean that it's accepted, it means that it and it's people are financially useful. We cannot overlook, minimize or trivialize that.

Some people have called this Meek Mill vs. Drake media coverage boring, overrated, wack, a distraction and etc. Yet the irony of this is the fact that they still found themselves commenting about it. That's like an Atheist talking about there is no God. At the end of the day, whether we like Drake, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj's neutrality, this is a teachable/educational moment. If you're a Hip Hophistorian, use it as an opportunity teach others about the chronology of rap battles. Take a moment to educate yourself, and others, about "ghost writing" and one of the most prolific one's Smokey Robinson. Are you a rapper/emcee? Well make your own response to the situation or state of rap music. Do you make custom tees, a producer, graphic artist or etc.? Do something with Joe Carter or others such as Meek Mill's sister who has over 1 million youtube views in 48 hours. Find something of value in this that is inspiring, empowering and educational as opposed to just complaining. Add-on!