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Monday
Aug092010

My Dollar Van Demos Feature on www.Time.com

You know Time magazine? Well, I was featured on their site in a video regarding the Dollar Van Demos (which you saw in the post below). Myself, hip-hopper Eric Sosa, and a few others get up close and personal in this behind the scenes of the Dollar Van Open Mic.

Note: Check the woman who's day I made better through my performance. That really made MY day.

 

Tuesday
Jul272010

New Video: "More Than One of a Kind" by Shanelle Gabriel (Taped by Dollar Van Demos)

You saw my boy Wordspit in the Dollar Van McDonald's commercial...Now witness me perform my song "More Than One of a Kind" in the Dollar Van Demos Performance Series.

*Note: Passengers are REAL passengers! They had NO clue what they were getting into.

Who'd have thought a dollar van ride could be so entertaining?

Thursday
Jul152010

I've Been Institutionalized...How About You? (Blog)

I spent 1:00am to 2:00am this morning on the phone with a male friend of mine. While some would call these the more 'seductive' or dare I say 'booty call' hours, we were discussing the gender roles in society. He argued that women are "simply more emotional than men are" and that a man that acts 'as a woman' would have trouble being a leader in society. "The first step to success is mastering emotions." Some might call my friend a little chauvinistic in regards to his views. I argued that as children we are born with the same capacity to love, share our feelings, hug our mommies and daddies, as well as cry in front of others...that is until we become pegs in the gender holes that society gives us. Girls play with dolls, hug them, nurture them. Boys have toy guns, army action figures, and wipe off motherly kisses when they are with their boys. I explained that what the world calls THE MALE EGO is just another way to say MALE EMOTION. If a guy reacts emotionally it's because you were messing with his EGO. If a woman reacts emotionally, it can't be her pride being hurt. She's on her cycle, she's hormonal. We debated back and forth about this until I said we should agree to disagree. Under my breath I muttered, "He can't understand my point. He just can't see institutionalized sexism."

The gender lockdown I've been on isn't new to me. I felt it growing up as a tomboy, battling the idea that I HAD to be this dainty creature. However, it's only recently that I knew a name for my jailer and saw how it molded me into thinking I had to be this fragile, dramatic, domestic, sex kitten to fit in with the world. It's even been fostered by church folk who believe due to Eve's [part in] bringing sin into the world, women can only be deaconesses, not elders or ministers. Try as much as you can, it's very hard to explain to a man the true plight of being a woman. An owner of the business of a prison (someone benefiting from the situation of others) can rarely see the prison from the prisoner's point of view.

To add to the discussion in my mind, I awake to a tweet from Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) with a clip to his discussion with Bill O'Reilly on Racism and the NAACP (Posted below). Apparently, the President of the NAACP discussed racism at the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City this week. O'Reilly argued that if the NAACP is going to speak on Whites being racist, then they should address the racism of other Blacks towards Whites. Poor Professor Hill...old conservative Billy wouldn't let him get a sentence out. Another situation where a White person believes that all racism is equal in America. I don't condone racism, but we cannot pretend that the state of Blacks in America is not affected by the history of the way Blacks were treated by Whites in America. The idea that ill-feelings towards Whites is completely unwarranted is closed-minded and is ignorant of human nature. If historically a people are hurt and oppressed by another group of people, naturally there will be some backlash generations to come. To say, "Get over it and let's all love one another" is dismissive of the pain (both present and past) that's been caused.

I can't expect Bill O'Reilly to understand those that speak against the malice in this nation that has been caused by the class in power (which happens to be White, upper class), those that refer to the oppression that was used to build this country, those that illuminate the self-hate fostered by years of being told 'lighter is better' and who endured nose pinching as a child for fear that 'it would spread.' He wouldn't understand because he happens to be White, upper class who benefits from the US caste system which is vastly based on skin color, and growing up, his nose was free to do what it wanted to. I believe while some are prone to sympathizing with others, many wouldn't even see or allow themselves to see themselves as racist anyways because racism = bad, and they're a 'good' person. "Good people aren't racist. It's just survival of the fittest. They're being over dramatic. Look, they got Obama." It's like looking at an old-school 3D picture: unless you're in it, you can't see it.

I don't blame my friend for not understanding how oppressive it is as a female or even Bill O'Reilly for being...well, maybe I do despise his ignorance and expectations for African Americans regarding discrimination. The NAACP is not responsible for speaking or censoring the speech of ALL Blacks in America. They can only promote the downfall of the institution as it relates to the people a part of the organization. Being close-minded to the idea that the world may JUST be biased to someone other than yourself is another way to say IGNORANT, and blacks and women have been trapped inside of this biased box for centuries now by people who didn't even consider that they were holding the key. To all wardens out there, believe the prisoners when they speak of the hard time they've been doing. It's not make-believe, especially when the disparities have been trace and documented for all this time. Believe the ugly truth that there is prejudice embedded in society that isn't easy to target much less begin to chip away at. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one.

To all my fellow prisoners, it's time to take back your freedom by overcoming one warden at a time.

 


Tuesday
Jul132010

Music Videos: "Tightrope" (Original and Wondamix) by Janelle Monae

I'm so absolutely in love and inspired by Janelle Monae's new album "The Archandroid." Here's her new videos for the single & remix to "Tightrope." Such a beautiful, talented woman!

Janelle Monae - Tightrope

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Tightrope (Wondamix) Ft. B.o.B & Lupe Fiasco

Tuesday
Jun012010

"18 Reasons Why the Homeless Stay Homeless" by Joy Eckstine

Keeping people out of homelessness — and thereby preventing the ailments that only going unhoused can cause — is far preferable to asking people to pull themselves out of it. Once people become homeless, the transition back to housing, and sometimes work and society in general, is almost impossibly difficult. Here's why it would be so hard if it happened to you.

1) If your ID is lost and stolen, good luck replacing it, especially since 9/11.

2) If you're employed, you may have to choose between sleeping outside and keeping your job. Many shelters have curfews that do not accommodate swing shifts or night shifts.

3) Until that first paycheck, how will you afford to get to work? Both gas and public transportation cost money.

4) Your job skills might no longer be relevant in today's economy.

5) Once you are looking for a place to live, your landlord will probably question your lack of recent rental history.

6) It's hard enough to save enough money for first and last month's rent and a security deposit. You might be charged a double security deposit if your landlord is even willing to rent to someone who was previously homeless.

7) Good luck finding affordable housing at all.

8) If you are one of the 60 percent of the homeless who are disabled, it is a very long process to receive federal benefits and you need to plan the time to be denied and then appeal. If you work at all during that time period, you will be denied.

9) Do you even know if you are disabled? Severe head injuries (pdf) may affect your memory, concentration, organization, speech and temper. Lack of insight is a hallmark symptom (pdf) for many psychotic disorders.

10) After a period of homelessness, you might have a criminal record from "status crimes." These are crimes that arise from having to do things in public that housed people have the good fortune to do inside, such as sleeping, sitting, eating and peeing.

11) You might get ill and not have access to healthcare.

12) If you have an addiction (pdf), it might spiral out of control.

13) If you have any history of trauma, you might find that being homeless worsens your PTSD (pdf).

14) Good luck getting help from former friends, acquaintances or neighbors. Most people are as afraid of homelessness as they are of a contagious disease.

15) Once you are ill, you might die. Homeless people are four times more likely to die prematurely (pdf) than housed individuals.

16) You might be a child.

17) You might be unable to work or on a fixed income due to your advanced age.

18) Shelter staff, social service providers, prospective employers and landlords might assume you are a drug-addicted mentally ill criminal.

 

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Taken from
http://homelessness.change.org/blog/view/18_reasons_why_the_homeless_stay_homeless

 

(It's so easy to assume the person on the sidewalk is there cause of their own doing, but we're all one house fire/bad decision/ accident/ ailment away from being on the street. Don't look down on someone because of their situation. It could be you. God forbid, but it could be you.)