Friday, September 23, 2016

In the Fight for What is Right, the Color of Your Skin Does Not Matter

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  I am not a self-hating white man. Racism is real. White privilege does exist.

  Now that that is out of the way, I think it is very important to examine what is going on in our society and the polarizing actions of our police, political leaders, judicial system and corporate executives. This is a tough time in America, but the sad reality is that this is nothing new. This may be confusing to many. It depends on, not only which part of this country you live, but the color of one's skin. Do not let the title of this piece be misleading, the color of your skin most definitely does matter. That is apparent in the tragedies going on right now. Innocent, unarmed citizens losing their lives at the hands of trigger happy police, professional athletes receiving death threats for peaceful and silent protests, wildly inappropriate lengthy sentencing going on in our courts, as well as racist behavior from our political leaders. There is one common denominator in who is affected the most in all of the situations listed above. African-Americans are unfairly paying the price for simply being black or brown. I understand this is a very strong accusation to make. I have the confidence to say this because of the empirical evidence surrounding all of these situations. To name some of the people who are no longer able to take a breath because of being murdered by police actions or while in custody since 2012: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

  The color of our skin should not limit our involvement in fighting against injustice. This is about the truth and recognition of a major problem in our society. I understand that there is level of respect involved for white individuals who approach these situations with good intentions. There is vernacular that must be consciously adjusted when entering these situations and a very big understanding of avoiding belittling the struggle of others by saying things like we and us. There is no getting around that this is a very difficult arena to enter into for a lot of people. But, I do not want to see people simply avoid standing up for what is right and getting involved because of the fear of not being politically correct. I will not accept an excuse that,  "I don't want to make things worse" or "I do not know what to say and how to say it without pissing people off." The greatest accomplishments in the history of our nation have been done with tremendous resistance. You name the amazing feat and it won't take you more than a few seconds to do a Google search and find results of who opposed it. Our generation should be working together to teach and learn from each other and use history as a resource to right the wrongs of our past. If you live in a community where you are not experiencing the horrible tragedies that dominate the news, I will challenge you to do the best that you can to understand what is happening. Just because it isn't happening to you doesn't mean that it isn't happening.

  This is a time for many of us to get involved and one of the most powerful places to start is to listen! This is a time to showcase empathy and offer an ear to those who are misunderstood, targeted and unfairly pushed to the side by our society. If someone is passionately fighting for something that you don't understand, please support them by showing a genuine care for what is going on. A good start is asking a person who is hurting and protesting, "Why do you feel this way?" The conversation needs to be happening to close the gap between those who are in the streets marching and those in the suburbs watching from afar. Don't tell someone, "Yeah I understand," ask them, "Can you help me understand?"

  The support from the white communities is necessary to make this a lasting change for future generations on which to build. Sometimes, it isn't a matter of solving the problem. This problem has been present since day 1. But, we have the power to make it better for our children, and hopefully they can make it better for their children, and so on. This is a sacrifice that doesn't even scratch the level of sacrifices that the African ancestors had to make under the circumstance of their arrival into this country. Our entire economy that we are thankful to be a part of and quote as the greatest nation in the world, was built by the enslaved Africans.

  This is our fight. This is all of our fight. Truth, love and happiness doesn't have a color. I strongly advise everyone to get involved and play our part to make our time on this Earth as productive as humanly possible. Do not think because you are white that you can't help. That is not true and I must say that the powerful black men and women in my life are the reason I am writing this article. I know that we all have the same objective. Together we will not tolerate unjust violence, we will protect communities. We will stand up for the safety of all, women, children, man and animals.

  "There has never been a successful revolution in the history of the world without our women right by our side blasting their guns and fighting with all of us!" - Immortal Technique. Think about that for a second and how powerful that is. Let's be the generation that has all race, ethnicity and gender uniting to fight for what is right! Fighting for the human rights of everyone! Fighting for what is right. Our skin color shouldn't dictate if we are in the game or on the sideline. We are all in the game. Let's get together and make this a better place to live and prosper for everyone.

  My heart goes out to the families and communities of every victim of wrongful death at the hands of police. Positive energy and vibrations to everyone out there in the streets, from every city in this country, who has had their lives changed forever. Tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas, be safe. Rest in power Mr. Keith Lamont Scott.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Solo debut album Travel Through by Moemaw Naedon - Review

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artwork by: Ronnie Hicks

  I'm very excited to present my review of the solo debut album, Travel Through, from Moemaw Naedon out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Surface Level Records.  This is the third album that Naedon has been a part of, but his first solo LP which was executive produced by Billy Hoyle.  The previous two releases, Gallactic Brethren with Brother Seamus and Circular Signals with The Latebloomer were phenomenal albums that I recommend you go get!  I must say that I am very impressed with Moemaw Naedon's ability to give each of his projects their own identity and listening experience while maintaining the substance and core style that has you there as a fan to begin with.  That is very, very difficult to do.  I have been a huge fan of artists with commercial success that have been unable to give you multiple albums that stand on their own which can seperate themselves from previous works while maintaining their flair.  I really feel that Travel Through really lets you in to the creative world and ability of Naedon.

  Track 1, Idle at the Edge, starts off with a little taste of what is coming with a smooth and simple start.  Track 3, Grass Blades, really jumps out and grabs you!  Very powerful sound that actually reminded me of Blackalicious Rhyme Like a Nut at first. I really liked this line, "Grass blades, sharks in the caves, what's the next vessel when the body parts ways from the light that you hold long term in the maze, soul searching sound waves."  Beautiful.  Then Track 4, Travel Through, really maintains the energy and flow with a wicked beat that has some really nasty drums.  It tails down into a very dark backdrop that is intoxicating.  Very interesting progression that I dig very much.  Track 5, Digital Wolf, takes you on a wild ride in which I picture Kool Keith appearing in a rabbit suit asking you if you are ready to see just how deep the hole goes.  Track 7, A Quarter Day Ago, is a super smooth jam that leaves you with your mean face on bobbing your head to each word smiling just waiting to say ooohhhhhhh, "Late night, planned flight trying to get the plan right, reflections in the day shape the feelings that I can't fight" as the words fade and perfectly paced piano takes over.  Track 9, From the Start, has a strong beat that made feel back to the days as a teenager bumping jams in your ride with a system just letting that baseline ride out on full blast letting that clean rumble provide the soundtrack to your evening.  That was a great way to end this certified banger!  This is definitely done with high integrity to the real Hip Hoppa and I know many will agree with me when they give this a listen to.  Go out and get it!
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Go to the links below to get yourself a copy of this great Hip Hop album you will be blasting on the regular.

Free Download Track: Travel Through

Purchase Album on iTunes

Purchase Album on Amazon

Follow Moemaw Naedon on Facebook