Category Archives: Uncategorized

I AM TROY DAVIS: 021 (Bearing Witness)

For the next 344 days, I will be writing entries under the title, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS.’  Moved to pick up the pen not merely by Troy Anthony Davis‘ death/execution, but more so by his life/evolution, I hope that there are those out there who can relate.  If so, we must connect.  We are already connected.  Axé.

A little while back, I wrote an entry entitled ‘Roses for the Living‘ after watching a video called ‘Roses‘ by Smiff N Wessun.  The entry was about how most of us generally wait to praise and/or appreciate the brilliance of a loved one until they transition to the next realm through what we know as ‘death.’  In the past year, we have witnessed the transition of Gil Scot Heron, Don Cornelius, Etta James, and most recently, Whitney Houston.

Due to Whitney Houston’s international status as a multi-platinum recording artist there will probably be a much greater hooplah in the media regarding her passing than there was for the aforementioned artists.  This doesn’t take anything at all away from Gil Scot’s poetic genius, or Etta James’ resounding vocal tones, but Whitney was a mainstream artist.  Whenever you swim in this current, the spotlight is brighter, the stakes are higher, and the scrutiny is painfully intense.  Almost no one makes it out unscathed.

We all read about Whitney Houston’s battle with substance abuse.  Many of us watched reports, reality T.V. shows, and interviews about the ups and downs of her relationship with singer Bobby Brown.  Some of us even made jokes about her struggles with drugs.  As much as we were empowered and inspired by her music throughout the years, we were also investing energy and time listening to stories of her downfall, making light of her struggles.

The same thing happened with Michael Jackson.  These great spirits came bearing incredible gifts of music and art, but when they were revealed to be human, we turned our backs on them.  Before her transition, despite all of her empowering music, Whitney was probably best known for her downfalls in life.  This is the hard truth I face again with her loss.  As with Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and so many others, flowers are thrown for the dead.  But, what about the living?

Through writing today, I am simply reminding myself to stay away from the traps of corporate media that lead us towards judgment and ridicule.  We are human beings.  When artists like Dave Chapelle and Lauryn Hill take a step away from the mainstream, we question them for leaving the money and fame behind.  But, when the pressures of fame lead to an early death for artists like Whitney Houston, we want to throw our hands in the air and wonder why?

At the end of the day,  how you see and /or remember Whitney Houston is simply a reflection of what’s inside of you; it is not a definition of who she was, or what she accomplished with her life on this planet.

Just bearing witness today.

My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro Mpeanaji’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm.  I AM TROY DAVIS.

I AM TROY DAVIS: 018 (Let’s Pretend…)

For the next 347 days, I will be writing entries under the title, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS.’  Moved to pick up the pen not merely by Troy Anthony Davis‘ death/execution, but more so by his life/evolution, I hope that there are those out there who can relate.  If so, we must connect.  We are already connected.  Axé.

A few weeks back, Tiger and I facilitated a group discussion with our friend, TK.  The discussion was centered on the Occupy Austin (OA) movement, and the participation (or lack thereof) of People of Color (POC).  TK, Tiger, and I wanted to create a POC-only space so that we could (more) freely discuss our feelings/issues about OA, or anything else.

We made sure the 60+ people that  showed up were given room to organize conversations around whatever topics they wanted to discuss.  Some in the room were upset that white people were excluded from the meeting; some wanted to speak about an upcoming action/march to pull money out of Bank of America and Wells Fargo; some just wanted to talk about making OA more of an inclusive space for POC.  The breakout groups were as diverse as one could imagine.  Our goal was to ensure that everyone felt their voice was heard and included in the conversation.

Before those small-group conversations even took place, however, TK walked the larger group through a brief visualization exercise during which participants were asked to close their eyes and imagine the world they would like to see for themselves.  This was supposed to be an entirely personal vision, detailing the exact people, foods, environment, colors, shapes, sounds, housing, etc. that each person would describe as their dream.  After the visualization, folks were asked to draw what they saw (with crayons), and share their drawings/visions with the person next to them.

The feedback that followed was a bit surprising.  One individual said he felt tension in his body when he was asked to create his personal ideal/vision.  Another woman said that she had nothing come to her initially besides frustration.  Others nodded, affirming their own struggles with the visioning process.

I think most people in the room that night would say that they want to see ‘change,’ a ‘better world,’ or ‘reform.’  But, it was interesting to find that more than just a handful of these same people were frustrated by the process of pretending, or imagining what their personal ‘better world’ might actually look like in reality.

Why do we as adults have so many problems dreaming/visioning/pretending?  The seed of change begins with a dream/vision, right?

Imagine there were no obstacles keeping you from manifesting your personal dream world.  What would your world look like?  Can you draw it?  Do you have a job in this world?  Do you live in a city, a forest, on a beach?  Do you eat food from a supermarket?  Watch TV?  Hang from trees all day?

Whatever your dream/vision is, write it down.  Draw it out.  Nothing will happen if you can’t see it clearly in your mind’s eye.

Let’s pretend.

My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro Mpeanaji’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm.  I AM TROY DAVIS.

Hip Hop Healers: True School NYC

I got this video from 808crate.com…big ups to tha homie Jonathan Figeroa!

Tiger makes a dress (day 1)

BOUNCING CATS: hip hop can/has/will always change(d) the world.

Bouncing Cats is the inspiring story of one man’s attempt to create a better life for the children of Uganda using the unlikely tool of hip-hop with a focus on b-boy culture and breakdance.

Marilyn Buck FREE — FREE ‘EM ALL!

Free ALL political prisoners!

Poet and political prisoner Marilyn Buck
Freed after 25 years in federal prison

By Thorne Dreyer / The Rag Blog / July 19, 2010

AUSTIN — Marilyn Buck is free.

Marilyn Jean Buck, 62, who served 25 years of an 80-year sentence in federal prison for crimes related to her actions in support of the black liberation movement, was released from the federal prison medical center in Carswell, Texas, July 15, 2010. She was paroled to New York City.

Buck, who was considered to be a political prisoner, became a respected and widely published poet while incarcerated.

Last December Buck — who grew up in Austin — was diagnosed with a sarcoma, a rare form of uterine cancer. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy for the cancer in prison, but treatment was eventually suspended after it was determined that her body could tolerate no more chemotherapy.

Read more…

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