"Tell Me More and More and Then Some" / Nina Simone

(Source: danceofinspiration)

But it is nonetheless crucial to note that no practice is metaphysically innocent: what passes as common sense is merely an unacknowledged metaphysics (and an epistemology and a normativity) that should in principle be susceptible to philosophical defense.

Peter Gordon, “Contextualism and Criticism in the history of ideas” (via tomekhet)


(Source: youtube.com)

Eyes of Love (Michael Brown Tribute / Ferguson Response)

(Source: youtube.com)

Mostafa Hefny to U.S. Government: “I’m Black and Egyptian, Not White”

(Source: youtube.com)

"Calling All Women!" Recited by Sonia Sanchez at Ruby Dee Memorial

(Source: youtube.com)

Ruby Dee Memorial at Riverside Church Star-Studded

(Source: youtube.com)

Pure.Love. Post equinox. In the pocket. i
Kendrick Lamar

Greg Carr: Learning Wisdom & African World Experience @africanacarr / September 2, 2014

"Go’on take a sip of this water…" @FreeMickJenkins

Oxala (Obatala) via @CCCADI / Mulheres de Axe exhibition

Oxala (Obatala) via @CCCADI / Mulheres de Axe exhibition

KTVA reporter quits on-air, reveals herself as owner of Alaska Cannabis Club

(Source: youtube.com)

Orisha Obatala: Patron of Disabilities, Creation, & Earth

According to mythical stories, Obatala created people with disabilities while drunk on palm wine, making him the patron deity of such people. People born with congenital defects are called eni orisa: literally, “people of Obatala”. He is also referred to as the orisha of the north. He is always dressed in white, hence the meaning of his name, Obatala (King or ruler of the white cloth). His worshippers strive to practice moral correctness as unblemished as his robe.

The Orisha Obatala is central to the creation myth of the ancient Yoruba cultures of West Africa, where he is also manifest in the “white gods” of creativity and justice: Orishanla, Oshala, Oshagiyan, Oshalufon, Orisha Oko, and Osha Funfun. He also provides the moral purpose of the historical king Shango, the Orisha of lightning and thunder. Obatala is said to have descended from heaven on a chain to mould the first humans and indeed to mould every child in the womb, although he is only one aspect of Olodumare, the Almighty God, who alone can breathe life into the creations of Obatala.

A saint among saints and the archetypal spirit of creativity, Obatala has been carried to many cultures of the New World, where for centuries he has been honored as the patron of children, childbirth, albinos, and anyone with a birthmark. In the New World as in the Old it is said, “Obatala marks his children.”

In Yoruba Oba means “king” and tala [ala] is undyed fabric, the blank canvas, which is why the King of the White Cloth is said to be a tranquil judge. Obatala is honored with brilliant white cloth, white lace, white beads and cowries, white flowers, silver coins, and silver jewelry. He is honored with white hens, snails, white melon soup, pounded yams, and other white food such as eko, fermented corn wrapped in plantain leaves. His priests and priestesses wear only white, although his warrior avatars Ajaguna & Obamoro add a dash of blood red. Ochosi, the Orisha of the hunt is Obatala’s scout and surveyor and guards an inner court of the alter of Obatala in the ancient city of Ile Ife,
“where the world began.”

The gentle Obatala is associated with honesty, purpose, purity, peace, the New Year, forgiveness, and resurrection, which is why some authorities associate him with Christ and the Egyptian Osiris. As the divinity of created form, “the old man” is the patron saint of artists, called the Divine Sculptor. He is also called Alamo Re Re, the One Who Turns Blood Into Children. He is Alabalashe, the Wielder of the Scepter of Life, and he is O Ho Ho, the Father of Laughter, “Who sits in the sky like a swarm of bees.”

(Source: youtube.com)

Ava DuVernay Filmography

{liberatormagazine.com exclusive feature}
by Vanessa D. May

I thought to myself, “She’s not that talented. She’s just up on stage and on the mic to land a man.”  I’m unsure why I thought this.  I guess I had to depress my instant synchronization with her frequency with some kind of dismissive derision.

Apparently, I was alone in my negative assessment of her abilities. She and her fellow female MC had the crowd hype! I observed the supportive audience. I let my mind focus and my ears close to the content of their lyrics and the tempo and tenor of their beats and rhymes. I focused on seeing her; really seeing her and, whether I liked it or not, saw nascent greatness.

Their set ended to appreciative applause and vocal adoration and as they exited the stage, another act took it. I don’t remember much else about that particular Thursday night at the Good Life Cafe and Health Food Centre, but I would NEVER forget her.


Former lovers can have a fortuitous future function. An ex hipped me to the “This is the Life” Good Life documentary.  Back in the day, he and his MadKap crew were more so attendees of the AfterLife, a hip hop jam session held at the Pharcyde Manor after the Good Life closed for the night. Nonetheless, he knew of the Good Life and my association with it.

He suggested that I track the documentarian down and share with her my Good Life mementos.

Upon his advisement, I got in contact with her via her PR firm. We arranged to meet at the Silent Movie Theatre where she would be delivering the movie poster for “This is the Life”. I caught up with her as she was taking the poster from her car and delivering it to the Cinefamily business office. I introduced myself and she extended her hand whilst giving me a keen once over. Woefully, shaking her head, she said, “I don’t remember you.” This troubled her deeply as she continued by saying, “I would have remembered YOU.”

I told her not to worry about it and to just enjoy what I brought to impart. We got in her car and I pulled out a CD of the now classic “Please Pass the Mic”  Good Life artist compilation tape and a cassette tape of a 1992 fifteen minute public interest segment on the Good Life I had produced for Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7fm.

Luckily, her car had both a tape deck and a CD player. She popped in the tape and we listened intensely to the informative and engaging juvenile production.  She then slid the CD in and as it began to play, we intermittently squealed with delight and bobbed our heads to Funky Tren, Volume 10, Chocolate Tai, The Unity Committee, and Qwyet Storm. We ended our audio adventure down memory lane with Snoop and Foesum’s “Let ‘Em Understand Perfection”.

As LA rush hour traffic whizzed along Fairfax Avenue, we sat in motionless silence for a few moments letting it all sink in. This would be one of many moments and things I would share with her over the years. Maybe with the hope that she would never forget me again.

The aforementioned story is how Ava DuVernay (one time member of the hip hop duo Figures of Speech; (comprised of Eve, her moniker, and her friend; Gyant) and I got, for lack of a better term, reacquainted.

Ava has gone on to become a revolutionary writer, filmmaker, director, producer, and movie distributor; and is on the brink of evolving cinema quantum leaps. Her efforts thus far have been commended with awards like the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Dramatic U.S. Directing Award and the 2012 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. Mark my words, there are many more cherries to come to top off her future sundaes.

If you are unfamiliar with her work, now might be the time to get hip. Following, for your edutainment, is a rundown of her major film work to date:


This is the Life: How the West Was One (documentary)

Mainstream media would have the world believe that late 1980’s - early 1990’s Los Angeles, CA was a cauldron of crack cocaine, gangs, death, police brutality, racial tension and social unrest. Seminal rap group NWA took prominence and local rap radio station KDAY 1580am went off the air. Folks who grew up like flowers from in between the cracked sidewalks created an alternate universe and the epicenter was The Good Life. MCs, artists and lovers of hip hop flocked to this underground spot to make beauty and amplify positivity.

DuVernay captures this special moment and place in time in this thoughtful documentary. The film is well executed and draws the viewer in via intimate yet casual interviews with some of the people who were down with The Good Life and its history.


My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop (documentary)

Almost erased from history and shrouded in mystery were the contributions of popular women MCs by the mid 1990’s.  This BET original documentary bore witness to pioneers like the Mercedes Ladies and provided a platform for some of the most influential women in hip hop to discuss the music industry, how they made it and what the future might hold.

DuVernay deftly draws from her interviewees honest details and perceptive analyses. A cogent chronology of hip hop culture is presented and the voids now present in the current mainstream hip hop scene are filled with the, up until then, untold stories of these brave and gifted artists.


I Will Follow (feature film)

A portrait of a niece packing up and moving out of the house she and her aunt shared. A contemplative film about love, loss and moving on. What makes this meditation on transition so powerful is its pervasive authenticity. There are no hyper inflated emotions and melodramatics here; just glimpses into what makes us human. It is refreshing to see DuVernay’s presentations of people, especially black and/or gay people, as the complex and imperfect yet lovable and wonderful beings that we are.  Hopefully, one day, such renderings won’t be rare and revolutionary.


Middle of Nowhere (feature film)

The lives of the loved ones of those locked up is explored in this gentle but brutally honest musing. There are prisons with walls and prisons without and as such, many are serving time along with their incarcerated significant others. The film poses some questions, a couple quite profound: (1) “Should a person, motivated by love and perchance a twinge of guilt, want more or do more for another capable, able bodied adult than what that adult wants and can do for him or her self?”and (2) “Is it wise for two people to try to become one?”

DuVernay shows how one woman chose self imposed damnation and confinement and then self salvation and self liberation. This particular woman’s story blossoms into a universal instructive allegory for life in general and how, eventually, one has to choose the only life one can truly save.


Venus vs. (documentary)

ESPN Nine for IX were nine documentaries celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. legislation that made discriminating against a person based on their sex in scholastic and/or educational federally funded institutions and/or ancillary activities illegal.

DuVernay was asked to detail tennis great Venus Williams’ challenge to gain pay equity for women tennis players at Wimbledon and the French Open. She rises to the occasion and delivers a powerful and fascinating herstory of the early battles waged by Billy Jean King to the successful concerted effort Venus joined and then lead.


The Door (branded short)

Who needs words when beauty speaks for itself? Fueled by an exquisite soundtrack (culled by Music Supervisor Morgan Rhodes), fashion and friends come together to free a sister from a heartbreak induced funk.

Prada offshoot, Miu Miu, gave DuVernay poetic license to showcase pieces from their line and to explore the themes of love and support girlfriends give to a friend in need of cheering up. The spot is shot by Middle of Nowhere cinematographer Bradford Young who again frames and lights us beautifully.


Say Yes (branded short)

Song wrangler Morgan Rhodes again aptly complements DuVernay’s diverse images of black beauty and love in this ode to the soft pinks in Fashion Fair Cosmetics’ Capsule Collection.

A subtle theme of unity underlies this piece. Not only is the union of fiancés celebrated but also the unity of different kinds and ages of black people coming together under one roof in celebration of  love.

The work of Ava DuVernay speaks what needs to be said. The wonderful thing about film is that it can speak to the past, present and future and can present us as we are.  Her voice and vision are beautifully iconoclastic and demystifying by simply depicting us just living and loving and being ourselves.

So please take heed and remember: Ava DuVernay. She is an artist not to be forgotten.

Opening Christmas 2014, like a present, SELMA. Ava DuVernay’s take on the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights.

Michael Jackson on Godliness / PBS Blank on Blank (via cartermagazine)

(via griot)