I AM TROY DAVIS: 014 (My Prayer Today)

For the next 351 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.

Whatever I have been holding back shall be released.  I want to feel all of life in every moment.  I want my life to be music: a song sung from the depths of my belly.

Like a good laugh, I want my words to ripple into the stream of consciousness, further, until it connects with the all.  Words don’t stop.  Please, don’t stop.  Carry on into forever.  Live like dreams.  Emotional gravity, please leave me.  I want to fly – higher than the clouds – into the cosmos.

Are there limits?  Only those that I have defined.  Allow me to release them today.  In fact, make limits inconceivable today.  Make everything achievable.  Make every dream dreamable.

I am nothing.

I am everything.

Dreams once light and free, sometimes become shackles.

Free up my heart.  Free up my mind, body, and soul to the order: the all in all. I just want to live.  I just want to be me.  Thank you for allowing this to be so.  Axé.

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

Advertisements

I AM TROY DAVIS: 013 (Love Unconditional)

For the next 352 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.

Real love has no conditions.  Real love is not proud, or boastful.  Real love does not claim territory.  Real love is limitless.  Real love is eternal.  Real love does not shut down when there is conflict, or disagreement.

If we are truly friends, than our love for each other should be greater than any perceived difference.  We do not have to think the exact same way, share the exact same experiences, worship/pray the same way, or engage in the same exact activities to be friends.

But, we do need love.

The love I seek has no conditions on it.  If you love me, then you can talk to me about where you feel I am falling short.  If you love me, then you will always reach out your hand to me, regardless of how I may have hurt you.  Love does not mean we will not hurt each other, or have different views on how to be.  Love is a choice.

When I say I love you, I mean it.  What do you mean when you say you love me?  Do you mean, I love you only when it is on your terms, or when I live up to your expectations of me?  I can only be me.  If what I do offends you, then if we are truly friends, we should be able to talk about the offense.  And, after that conversation, regardless of whether we agree or not, we should be able to embrace each other, and say, I LOVE YOU.

Otherwise, our love has conditions.  We are all guilty of making judgments in our relationships.  But, please be aware when you are making yours.  And, if those judgments affect your ability to hold my hand, or share thoughts freely, than we are not friends.  We are associates.  We are something else; but, not friends.

Love is unconditional.

We all deal with our emotions differently.  And, I respect that.  We are all learning, and growing.  I am currently re-learning that many peoples love has conditions attached to it.

‘I will love you, if you support this cause.  I will love you, if you think like me.  I will love you, if you don’t challenge me.  I will love you, if you pretend there are no issues between us.  I will love you, if you live on this side of town.  I will love you, if you come from this race, spiritual background, economic class, whatever.’

Love is unconditional.  If I am doing something ‘wrong’ in your eyes, than challenge me to be better.  But, please don’t ignore me, talk with everyone else except me about your issues with me.  And, really your issue is not even with all of me, it’s just about something I said or did.

Do you love me?  Than share with me.  Talk to me.  Come to my house.  Don’t text me.  Call me.  Tell me you care.  Tell me that you are disappointed.  Tell me you can’t stand what I am doing.  Tell me you love me.  Tell me something, anything.

But, don’t be silent.

Don’t sit there and judge.  Don’t let a human disagreement keep us apart.  If, of course, you choose to love me, that means we can get through anything together.

Love is a choice.

Love is unconditional.

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: 008-012 (The Flow…)

For the next 357 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.

This blog post contains five entries so that I may stay true to my commitment of 365 posts in 365 days.  Due to the natural flow of life, it’s definitely not going to be possible for me to write something everyday, but I will try.  Even with my best efforts, I still have two more entries to catch up on.  Thanks for reading and sharing!

Entry 008 – Direction(s)

I know it has been a minute since I last sat down at this computer to type my thoughts, but trust and believe I/we have been busy.  There are a lot of things in motion that will be revealed later.  With this in mind, we must always remember to honor the process of revelation.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 009: A Call to Rod Starz (of Rebel Diaz)

On Monday night, I was pacing around our house, trying to process this whole Occupy Wall Street movement.  After hours of reading posts, watching videos, and viewing photos online, I felt the need to reach out to some of my peoples in NYC.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 010: The meeting

Basically, on Wednesday, October 5th, I just wanted to bring Black and Brown folks together to talk about Occupy Wall Street.  An Occupy Austin was planned for the following day, and I wanted to know what other people were thinking/feeling.  There really aren’t many public spaces to have this type of discussion, so I just created one real quick.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 011: Jbro Mpeanaji

So, I noticed the other day that most of my favorite rappers/mcs have either last names, or two names:  Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, André 3000, Tiger Lily, Talib Kweli, Lupé Fiasco, Wise Intelligent, the list goes on.  This was a very interesting fact that led me to a revelation: I need a last/second name.  Jbro Mahone doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 012: Decolonize Everything

What do you think of this image?  Can you relate?  Yesterday, I walked around all day with this poster attached to a long pole at Occupy Austin.  For some folks (Black, or otherwise), it provoked nods of approval, for others it brought confused stares. –> READ MORE…


I AM TROY DAVIS: 008 (Directions)

I know it has been a minute since I last sat down at this computer to type my thoughts, but trust and believe I/we have been busy.  There are a lot of things in motion that will be revealed later.  With this in mind, we must always remember to honor the process of revelation.

At one point during this past week, I was frustrated because I just couldn’t find the rhythm that would allow me to keep up with my commitment of one entry/post per day.  When I was home, I didn’t have the chi/energy to put my thoughts into written language.  Still, there was this strong need to make it happen because I ardently believe in keeping my commitments.

My Libra energy/astrology requires balance, so I am always super-conscious – at times to a fault – of my personal responsibilities/duties (as a husband, artist, writer, brother, son, etc.).  If I said I was going to do it, it’s got to get done.  Period.

Overall, this can be a good thing.  But, it can also be a burden.  Especially, if whatever you are doing is externally motivated.  The drive to get things done has to emerge from inside (internally).  If not, we often feel that we have to force the issue.  When energy is forced, things tend to fall apart, or crumble due to the extreme pressure we put into our action(s).

There is no real failure.  We don’t fail.  Goals just aren’t accomplished.  When this happens, you have to examine the why of what happened, not dwell in a perceived loss.  Whatever you think you may have lost occurred to make you a stronger person.  You never know what you really had until it’s gone, right?

No matter how much encouragement and positive feedback I get from people who read this, I don’t write for anyone but me.  I know that my thoughts will resonate with others because I am no different than anyone else.  There are a lot of people that feel like I do.  They may not write their thoughts down, or create art, but they feel like me.  I know this because we speak everyday: on the street, on the bus, at the party, at the meetings, etc.  Those that need/want to hear what I think will gravitate towards it.  Those that don’t, won’t.  Bottom-line: like Stephen Biko, ‘I Write What I Like.’

Liberation means living your life how you want to live it.  It means saying what you want, and being what you want.  Assata Shakur said, ‘I know a whole lot more about what freedom isn’t, than what it is.’  This truthful statement lives in the heart of most of us because we don’t know how to be ourselves. We don’t know why we are here.  We want answers, but we don’t take, or fail to create, the time necessary to find them.  Again, our responsibilities can get in the way.

Liberation is a journey, not a destination.  Do you want it?  Then, you will have to fight.  And, the toughest fight ain’t with the government, ‘the system,’ ‘yo momma and them, or anybody else.  The toughest fight is with yourself.  You have to go in, if you want to get out (part of the hook for some new RAS music).

Gradually, over the last 34 years, I have learned to respect and honor my responsibility to others, while also honoring my responsibility to me.  If I put God first, and move according to my heart’s call, all of those ‘responsibilities’ are filled without thought or planning.  Life isn’t always about ‘doing’ something.

Growing up, going to highly-competitive private schools in Pittsburgh, I learned to produce, and fill my time with activities.  Everything was about medals, honors, and certifications.  These things didn’t motivate me intrinsically, but they made other people (mainly my parents) happy, so I did them.  My father, who grew up economically impoverished (but, spiritually-rich), wanted his sons to have the education, opportunities, privileges, etc. that his generation couldn’t even dream of due to the racist structure of this country.

When I was accepted into some of the ‘top’ schools in this nation, he brimmed with joy.  But, overall, I wasn’t happy.  And, the funny thing was that I really didn’t even know it.  It took me years (and plenty of substance abuse) to realize I was living someone elses dream: I didn’t have my own.

So, after graduation, when I took my Ivy League degree, and went to work with youth in the South Side of Providence, my parents shrugged their shoulders.  When I turned down a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad, they frowned.  When I got arrested and profiled after months of organizing for community oversight of the Providence Police, they worried.

It felt like I was walking alone in the dark for many years; but I continued, because somewhere in the depth of my spirit, everything was calm and certain.

Follow your heart.  It sounds cliché, but it’s real.  I wasn’t following the direction that my heart was calling for, so I suffered.  Suffering is not necessary.  We can find peace in the middle of a battlefield if we want it.  Everything is about choices.

When you choose to move with your heart, the world becomes a totally different place.  Yes, it is the same imperialist, racist, maniacal world, but you are moving through it with different eyes that are searching for truth.  You no longer feel the need to sit and critique all of the ‘ways of the wicked’ because you would rather seek the alternative solution that already exists.  The solutions to all of this are already living inside of each of us.  It’s a crazy thought for many, but it’s true.

I know all my ‘Leftist-radical’ comrades are probably going crazy right now.  ‘You crazy hippie.  We gotta fight this system,’ they’re probably thinking.  But, my comrades need to understand that our vision/dream for a new world has to be about unconditional love.  We have to imagine a world without all of these ills before we can create it.  I don’t think Christ is coming back, but the Christ energy must.  This is the energy of transformation, hope, and true liberation.

Moving in this consciousness is what some may call grace, or harmony.  It feels good when you are walking with this energy, but it is not always easy, or possible to maintain.  Old habits/thoughts can often creep in, so you must learn to be patient with yourself.  As the Digable Planets said, ‘We’re just babies.  We’re just babies man.’

We are in the ‘FALL’ season (just a few weeks past the Autumnal Equinox) – which means it is time to look ahead again at the coming year.  In a very real sense, it is a ‘New Year,’ so that means it is time to go inside of ourselves.  It is time to be silent, and listen for direction.

What do you hear when you turn off the radio, the T.V., the internet?  What is really driving your steps?  Follow that.  Don’t be afraid if it means walking away from friends, your ‘community,’ or anything else.  Your spirit knows.  You must follow.

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

I AM TROY DAVIS: 010 (The Meeting)

For the next 355 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.

Basically, on Wednesday, October 5th, I just wanted to bring Black and Brown folks together to talk about Occupy Wall Street.  An Occupy Austin was planned for the following day, and I wanted to know what other people were thinking/feeling.  There really aren’t many public spaces to have this type of discussion, so I just created one real quick.

About 16 people showed up.  Half I knew.  Half I didn’t.  Everyone that came to the Orun Center of Cultural Arts that evening was thankful for the opportunity to have an informal group discussion.

Over the next few hours, we expressed frustrations and excitement about what most described as an important ‘moment’ to seize.  There were different ideas about next steps, but mainly we just enjoyed the moment of being together; laughing, eating some of Tiger’s famous Caribbean-inspired Tacos, and sharing thoughts about how to move forward collectively.

Before the end of the gathering, we made plans for a larger meeting on October 10th, and decided to meet again the next day at  Occupy Austin’s first General Assembly in front of City Hall.  I am thankful for all that came, and all that are coming.  Axé!

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

I AM TROY DAVIS: 009 (A Call to Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz)

For the next 356 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.

On Monday night, I was pacing around our house, trying to process this whole Occupy Wall Street movement.  After hours of reading posts, watching videos, and viewing photos online, I felt the need to reach out to some of my peoples in NYC.  I called several folks, but only got in touch with their voicemails.  You know how it is, folks don’t pick up their phones these days.  Fortunately, however, our brother Rod Starz did.

For those that don’t know, Rod Starz is one-half of the revolutionary hip hop duo, Rebel Diaz.  Please get familiar with them.  These folks don’t just rap about change, they get out there and make it happen.  As the founders of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, they have transformed an old South Bronx factory space into a radical, hip hop community center.

I met Rod and his brother G-1 for the first time in 2010.  Tiger and I had just moved to Austin, and the Rebel Diaz crew was in town for SXSW (South by Southwest): a huge, annual, international music festival.  Davey D and others were holding a workshop/discussion at the Resistencia Bookstore.  I was blessed with the free time to stop by, and kick it for a minute, so I did.  Since meeting in 2010, we have had a chance to build only one other time in-person, but we remain connected.

Rod didn’t have much time to speak, but he did break down his experience at the NYC Occupy Wall Street event(s) on September 28th.  As expected, he described a large cultural disconnect between the original (predominantly white, privileged) initiators of the protests, and the growing number number of (historically disenfranchised, oppressed) Black and Brown folks coming in to observe/participate.

We also talked about the deep-rooted historical/cultural implications of the language of ‘occupation’ employed by the growing social movement.  Both of us were feeling like the word ‘occupy’ had to go for several reasons, but mainly, because it is repeating the same language used to dominate other (Black and Brown) nations.  Palestine is occupied.  Iraq is occupied.  Shit, the East Side of Austin is occupied.  Colonialism lives on.  The language we use to describe our situation is critical to our liberation from it.

We spoke for a few more minutes about next steps.  Rod explained that they would be back for sure.  After our conversation, I realized that I still hadn’t really spoken with folks in Austin about Occupy Wall Street at all.  Aside from a quick conversation with two friends at a diner on Saturday, the only person living in Austin that I had spoken with was my wife.  This realization led me to make some other phone calls the next night.  And, these phone calls led to a larger group discussion.

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

I AM TROY DAVIS: 011 (Jbro Mpeanaji)

For the next 354 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.

So, I noticed the other day that most of my favorite rappers/mcs have either last names, or two names:  Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, André 3000, Tiger Lily, Talib Kweli, Lupé Fiasco, Wise Intelligent, the list goes on.  This was a very interesting fact that led me to a revelation: I need a last/second name.  Jbro Mahone doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?

I sat for a while, and listened for what this last name would be.  Initially, nothing came to me.  On our way to someone’s house, I asked my wife what she thought this last name should be, and she couldn’t come up with anything.  Then, in a flash, part of the answer came.

My friend Tanuj Chopra used to call me ‘the giver’ when we were in school together at Brown University.  He gave me this title because of my naturally giving nature, but also because whenever there was a freestyle cipher going down, I was the chosen one to lay down the beat-box that kept things rolling.  Some ciphers literally lasted for hours.   At this point in my life, hip hop was definitely the gospel that I grooved to daily; rappers were the preachers; and the cipher was our church.

Inspired by these golden memories, I decided to take ‘the giver’ title as my last name.  I wanted this new name to have African origins, so I chose the Swahili language.  After reaching out to our friend Anzetse for a translation, the name Mpeanaji (pronounced Mmm-peh-ah-nah-jee) emerged (10/6/2011).

Good morning world.  Please say hello to Jbro Mpeanaji.  Together, with my wife, Tiger Lily, I will re-shape this world through the power of music/art.

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