Saturday, April 10, 2021

His Name Was DMX

I had the pleasure of meeting DMX. I was dating a guy who was providing personal security for him. I had never heard of him even though he was wildly popular. When I got to meet him, sorta' kinda', we were in a van enroute to his concert. 

I was in a van with him and his security team. The music, his music, was blasting. There was this guy in the front seat wearing a hooded top which was covering his head, bopping vigorously to the music and smoking weed with pure intention! Lawd' have mercy!  We were in racist ass Boston and I'm thinking, I'm about to be arrested...

More hilarious however, I still didn't know who was the guy in the front seat. LOL! I whispered to my friend who gave me a "Really?" look and then I knew. DMX was in his world. I likened it to a boxer getting ready for a fight. He was in a zone. There  was no talking in the van. It seemed understood that no one was to disturb his groove.

Two white vans left the hotel. One with him, which I was in. Another as a decoy to fool the groupies who had managed to find out which hotel he was in. It worked. A few were waiting outside the back entrance to the venue when we arrived but most seemed to have followed the decoy van. 

I remember the night so well because here I was backstage with the likes of DMX, Eve, Cash Money and some others I had mostly never heard of or at least had no idea about their music. This was 1999 or 2000 so they were all hot, mind you, I was just clueless about rap. I have always been an old skool' kinda' girl.  I remember thinking how thrilled some younger person would have been to be in my shoes at that moment. I remember thinking why couldn't this opportunity come to me with Frankie Beverly, Stevie Wonder, Aretha, Gladys and so many others. LOL!!!

The concert was packed! It was my first realization that rap/hip hop had crossed over in a very real way. Kids from all races were there. Music has always been a unifier. I remember noticing too, that while singing along with DMX, the white kids seemed to not join in when he turned the mic to the crowd and they were to say something using the word Ni**a. They mostly watched as the Black kids sang along. It was an interesting night on many fronts.

When he finished his performance, another decoy was used. DMX struck a pose and with a turn of a small section of the stage, hidden in a big cloud of smoke, DMX was swept away as the crowd went wild. When the cloud subsided, unbeknownst to the fans cheering for an encore, a look alike appeared wearing the same clothes, striking the same pose with his head bowed and a towel or something around his neck. I think the pose was a raised fist or something of the sort. DMX was long gone from the stage, safe in his dressing room. They had no idea.

The concert is over. Now I get to meet DMX. He is out of his zone. He is very friendly. He thought I looked like Oprah Winfrey. I used to hear that a lot back then. "The skinny Oprah", they would always say. LOL! It was the hair. We were in Boston so Bobby Brown was there with one of his sons. It was a nice evening. 

He adored his fans as much as they adored him. Security had strict instructions not to touch them in any aggressive way. That meant they could swarm him, and swarm him they did. My friend made it clear to me, he said, "when I say move, you move. He is my client and I have to protect him". In other words, I can't be worrying about you. LOL!!! No time to be offended because once things were in motion, I fully understood. 

We needed to get back to the van and although the concert had ended a little while ago, the fans were waiting. They bumrushed him as soon he appeared. As a locked arm unit, we had to keep moving forward. The force of the crowd was such that I was literally lifted off my feet and pushed along. Remember, I was skinny then. LOL!!!  But that was some scary shit. I was thrilled to get back in the van. Fans untouched. We went back to the hotel. What a night!

He and Bobby Brown seemed to be really nice guys. Both are painted as bad boys. OK, they might have earned a little of that. But DMX was nothing short of kind and gracious. I hope good stories about him and the joy folks got from his music overshadow the bad tales that will be told. 

Sad to see him go. May his soul have found peace. 

Strolling down Memory Lane on a cloudy Saturday morning. Thank you for strolling with me...

Earl "DMX" Simmons

December 18, 1970 - April 9, 2021

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

No Matter The Victim...

Hmmm so I don't know if I didn't know or just forgot that Governor Cuomo is single, mostly because I really don't care about a politician's personal life. How does s/he govern is what matters. Currently he is caught in a web of scandals, two of which include benign, especially according to today's terms, if inappropriate, accusations of sexual improprieties. Still however, forces to bring him down or derail his career are fierce and determined. Politics is such a nasty game... 

As a public, we must stop automatically giving blind deference to the accuser in these matters and jumping to the immediate negative conclusion which can be false, manipulative, financially or publicity driven, political or paid for by persons belonging to a party that continues to embrace and ignore horrific transgressions of their cult leader, donald trump, against whom accusations by women of all ages are endless, some even acknowledged by him...

Dems' typical but predictable response is used effectively to kill the career of an adversary poised to present as or is perceived to be a political challenge at even the suggestion of a sexual impropriety. Al Franken comes to mind. And let us not forget the chick who, when all else seemed to be failing, mysteriously but very timely, came out of the woodwork to accuse then formidable candidate predicted to beat donald trump and who DID beat donald trump, to take down Joe Biden. Luckily it didn't work,cat least not that time...

Liberal Dems had better learn to show up to win and to play differently. Stop being suckers. NY is poised to bring trump down and prove that at least in NY he cannot walk out on 5th Avenue, shoot someone and get away with it. Cuomo has been very vocal in his criticism of trump. So now women surface to bring the governor down? Come on people. Don't you see the pattern here? #Medo (me do). We make it too easy.

I don't know what Cuomo or any other politician or any other person does or does not do behind closed doors but as a public we must lose this fear of victim blaming/shaming in abandonment of seeking the truth. We must be cautious not to create a victim from hysteria or based solely on the word of a proclaimed victim. We MUST do the work and ask the very relevant questions, not some of the time but EVERY time no matter the victim's gender, race, age, religion, political, social or financial status and so on. 

No matter the victim, do the work! 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Black History 365!!!

There is a story out of Oklahoma about a white teacher trying to instill insecurity and self hate in a young Black 7th grader. She ridiculed a Black male student for wearing a t-shirt that said "Black King". She called his shirt racist as she believes she would be labeled if she wore a shirt suggesting that she is a white queen. She continued that there should be white history. So what part of her schooling did she sleep through?The young Black student's Mama said, hell no and challenged her son's experience. The teacher has been suspended.

Black pride scares and intimidates insecure white people, ESPECIALLY when that pride is being expressed or demonstrated by Black Americans. Why do you suppose? 

White America, since we arrived on these shores laden in their shackles, has methodically, skillfully and purposefully invested a ton of time and energy in making sure we don't like, love or value ourselves. They want that we not love and honor ourselves but that we see them as our benchmark, our role model, our saviors, our heroes. They want that we envy and/or aspire to be them or at the very least, be, look and act like them. 

Always we are expected to measure and judge ourselves according to white standards. We should seek white approval. When we exude Black pride, insecure white people receive it as a rejection of them and all the hard work they have done to make us not like, love or believe in ourselves. 

We should hate our naturally bushy and beautiful hair, the blessing of melanin in our skin, our full figures, our full hips, our full lips. This is also why parents at a private charter school in Utah recently rejected teaching Black History to their white children. It is why scholared white historians, sometimes to include self proclaimed liberals, are so vested in their rejection of teaching the truth of Black History like the 1619 Project or Critical Race Theory. They have written our story. We must believe them in spite of ourselves, in spite of our truth. Similarly, the peaching of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and others who preach Black liberation theology scares the hell out of insecure whites. They call it preaching hate. In America, one cannot claim a well rounded education that is void of Black History. Black History IS America's history and it must be taught!

Insecure whites reject that which educates and builds Black people up and tears down their hard work and desire that we loathe ourselves. To know and love one's history is to have pride and to know and love oneself. As we close out Black History Month, let us practice,  embrace, love, teach and learn Black History 365! Never stop learning...

As our children are being taught at home virtually, we can hear and are reportedly being responsive to what they are learning. Make it a habit!!! We ARE our children's protectors and their keepers. 

Sadly, this teacher who by her actions incited his white classmates to join in her taunting, bullying, questioning and her efforts to shame this Black student against speaking his truth and having pride in himself and who is now on leave with pay pending an administrative decision will not be held accountable. Many of her superiors, in active  consciousness or not, are of the same mindset as her and are incapable of judging her for that which they see or perhaps cannot see in themselves, or for what they hold in their own hearts. They don't quite understand the angst of his Mom or know or care about the intended or potential of damage behind the message the teacher tried to instill in her young Black son. 

It is our duty to be engaged in what is being taught or instilled in our children.  Six hours a day for nine months for 13 years can do tons of damage. We MUST speak up, expose and challenge these harmful and sometimes irreversible actions taken against our children. Let them call you angry. You should be! Protect our children and what they are being taught at all costs. 

This young man is gifted with a good, engaged and proud Black Mom!!! Her lesson of protecting her sin and hus honor superseded any lesson of inferiority his teacher was trying to teach him and his young and impressionable white peers who are influenced by her merely because of her role. Of course they are as are Blackchildren... However, on that day, thanks to a Black Mother, a seed of intolerance was planted and that is good...

#toknowourselvesistoloveourselves #BlackHistory365! 


Sunday, February 21, 2021


William J. Booker made me co-administrator on two Facebook pages with him. He and I connected on Facebook over common interests. We kept intending to publish together. We never did...

I was mostly passive on these pages, Black Women Matter and Black Men Matter. I mostly shied away from the Men's page out of respect for their man space but actively approved posts for the Women's page. Lately I noticed that there were several posts for the Men's page that have not been approved so I went to William's page to see when he last posted.

The Facebook post below was his last post. He complained of a relative who did not quarantine before visiting and sharing a bed with his 71 year old Mother who eventually died from COVID. I am heartbroken to know that he also died from COVID. I wonder how that Family member feels...

William . Booker
November 19, 2020                                                                                                                    
I'm so upset. My mom (71) tested positive for covid-19 today. A relative of mine went to California, but when she came back she refused to quarantine for 2 weeks. I was so mad. She slept in my mom's bed with my mom mind you. I complained that she was coming in my mom's house without washing her hands. But nothing was done about it. I knew this was going to happen. No one thinks it can happen to them until it actually happens to them. Please pray for my mom.                                                                                                                       
Everyone please take this pandemic seriously. No one wants to lose a loved one, friend or colleague to this deadly virus.

COVID IS REAL! IT IS NOT A JOKE! You cannot say that you are sorry for your selfish transgression to a dead person. It matters not what others may think of you, stand your ground. Protect your space. People with hurt feelings recover, or not... Either way, its all good. They will live...

I am so sorry my Facebook pal is gone. How many others have we lost? It has been three months. I am just learning. We never got to co-publish. We never got to meet...

May William and his Mother rest together in peace...


No to The Double Standard of Discrimination

This one is challenging... 

Recently it has been reported that Harvard University denied tenure to esteemed and noted scholar and professor, Dr. Cornel West.

On the one hand, a professor of Dr. West's stature and prestige should not have to even ask for tenure. Harvard should be asking him to accept tenure. Certainly far less qualified, less proven and undeniably far less worthy white professors have very easily been tenured by their colleagues. Tenure is a peer review process wherein all too often white "liberal" professors practice blatant discrimination, especially at these prestigious institutions, all the while claiming diversity and equality for all as they  protect and make allowances and/or exceptions for their own less qualified but highly favored white peers. Its a very subjective process that needs to be exposed.

On the other hand, criticism that these noted Black scholars bypass teaching at HBCUs for the glitz, glamor and certainly money and prestige associated with PWIs all the while bedazzling the Black community with their brilliance and appearance of acceptance and comeuppance at these prestigious other institutions, flirting with and seeking confirmation and adoration from the Black community, is warranted and makes it easy for us not to rise to their defense at a time like this. But in the interest of 'shit ain't right', we must. 

Yes our Brotha' has certainly been controversial. He will forever be remembered as that otherwise smart guy who we all adored but who went left with our other previously admired Brotha', Tavis Smiley, over the Barack Obama presidency, saying some of the right things at what felt like the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons. The jury is still out however on their content. That's a whole other story, for a whole other time... 

But to ignore blatant application of the double standard and to call it anything other than blatant discrimination if not racism because we don't support the Black recipient of said treatment is to be complicit in the promotion of racism, discrimination and practice of the double standard...  

So for that reason, I say we must accept the challenge to take Harvard to task... 



Tuesday, February 9, 2021

On This Day In American History

Today, February 9, 2021, the 2nd impeachment of a charlatan POTUS, is as historic a day as was the infamous day of televised  domestic terrorism, a failed coup, an insurrection at the US Capitol, January 6, 2021. The republican party will make its mark. The world is watching. What ever will they do? Stand up or Stand down? I actually admire the Dems for making them publicly claim and record their position. Oh yes! This is an historic day indeed! Pass the popcorn!

Happy American History Day!!!


Monday, February 8, 2021

What's In A Name?

I am horrible with remembering names. How about you? At this point I don't even know some of the names in my phone. I read them and ask who? Even with a description by the name I don't recall who some of them are. I scan old texts hoping something will ring a bell. Nothing... Do I dare call and hope to recognize the voice or do I just erase them? LOL!!!

A Jamaican guy once suggested that Americans are bad with remembering names because we are too preoccupied with describing people instead of making an effort to know their name:

the fat lady, 

the tall skinny guy, 

the red head, 

the blonde, 

the fine guy with the big fro' (throw back memory!)

the one who always ______ (fill in the blank)

Sound familiar? We all do it.

The Jamaican continued that our obsession with describing people or associating them with something or someone makes us lazy about committing to remembering names. He said as children they would get popped if they described someone instead of using their name. It was considered disrespectful. It was a no-no! Their parents instilled in them the need to remember and call folks by their name...

I hate that I am so bad with names. I think it makes folks feel devalued or less important in my world and that is not the case. I am learning to politely apologize and fess' up that I forgot the name and ask again. Still, I forget. I am hopeless... 

There is an art to recalling names on cue. An art I am forever working on. How about you? Do you remember names? If yes, what's your secret? If no, how do you manage it?