Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Twisted Confessions and Atramentous Musings of A "Broke" Writer (The Balance)

I haven’t written one of these in a while. Life gets busy what can I say. “The Balance” is the most important thing to understand as an artist. Of course learning and mastering your chosen craft is instrumental in capturing success, but that expertise is nothing without knowing and finding “The Balance”. Besides the typical internal bullshit, you know doubt, self-loathing, fear, blah, blah, we artistic types have to go through another fight that I've found to be the most important during the creative process.

ALL creatives serve "The Balance". We have no choice. Even if you don’t think you do, you do. BeyoncĂ©, Martin Scorsese, Tom Ford, Jennifer Lawrence, Aaron Sorkin, or whoever else you can think of all serve these three masters. If these people have to respect "The Balance" why shouldn't you?

Whenever I pen anything, I always think about the three factors that make up "The Balance". In no particular order it goes something like this; executives/producers, fans/consumers, and artistic integrity. Again, you can put them in any order you’d like, but as long as you know them you’re on the right path. I don’t put a single letter on the page of a script, treatment or whatever without thinking about these three things. Think of them like the three branches of our government. Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Each branch is equally as important as the next and no branch is more important than the other. It’s all about checks and balances.

1. The executives/producers means thinking about the bosses when you start a project. These are the people that "give the money to MAKE the money". You have to think, "Is this going to make money?" Because if you are trying to pitch something that isn’t, going to make money or lead to money, you’re NEVER going to get it off the ground. There has to be some kind of dollars involved. Remember this is a J-O-B. People have car payments, overpriced pre-school tuitions, mortgages and mistresses. No one is doing this for "love" or for "free". They want to get paid now and if they do work for free, the project has to pay off one day. Sad, but these are facts.

2. Fans/consumers are the lifeblood of this and every other business on the planet. You have to know whom you’re trying to reach. "Who’s going to watch this show?" "Who’s going to listen to this song?" "Who’s going to buy these jeans?" We, artist, do this partly for the feedback. No one wants to perform in an empty Madison Square Garden. Or have a film that’s seen by no one. Good or bad, as an artist you are/should always be looking for a reaction. And if you're not creating with the consumer in mind you're already in a bad spot.

3. Artistic integrity. "Do you the artist, the creator, love your creation?" "Is it something you can be proud of?" "Does it speak to who you are and the message you want to get to the masses?" Or does it make your skin crawl? Do you wish the project never existed? These are the things you have to ask yourself when you are thinking about this part of "The Balance". Because art is forever and you want to be sure that it's something you can live with. 

You can’t do anything without thinking about those three things. Is this going to make my bosses money? Will an audience connect with this? And does this satisfy me creatively as an artist? Making a project that successfully and completely speaks "Yes" to all three is “The Balance.”

Sometimes artist make the mistake of letting "The Balance" get out of wack. Take Kanye West’s Yeezus. This is the example of a project completely serving the artistic integrity of the artist and not his fans or his investors. It sold like crap, by Kanye's previous standards anyway, it had zero marketable singles, and fans hated it. Music, much like film, first and foremost NEEDS to be entertaining. As in, it has to be sonically pleasing to your ears. That doesn’t mean you can’t say something deep/thought provoking. Imagine, What’s Goin’ On, A Change Gon Come, and Like a Rolling Stone are examples of just a few songs that have profound messages, total artistic freedom, but remain enjoyable listens and hit songs. 

There are songs/films/projects so "corporate" they literally sound/look like commercials. Sometimes you as an artist would love to grow, but expectations from the fans and executives forces you to create something that’s more of the same because they (the executives) know they’ll (the fans) eat it up. It’s a real struggle at times to find “The Balance". It’s up to you, the artist, not to cave under the pressure of wanting to satisfy one part of "The Balance" over the rest. But when you do find that sweet spot. Where you create something the fans love, that keeps the execs swimming in cash AND makes you proud, well, there’s NOTHING greater.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love the Game, Hate The People

All of these people...are idiots. 
I hate Lakers fans. I hate Clippers fans. I hate Celtics fans. Heat Fans. 49ers fans. Seahawks fans. Cowboys fans.  Lions fans. Yankees fans. Red Sox fans. Cubs fans. Michigan University Football fans. Ohio State fans. Man U fans. Brazilian soccer fans. Any other team’s fans for that matter. I hate them all! Sad part is, I root for several of those teams. The Lakers, Lions, Michigan Wolverines and Cubs are all “my” teams, but I’m really, really starting to hate the fans.

There’s an old Chris Rock joke that goes, “I love Black people but I hate niggas! Boy I hate niggas so much I wish I could join the KKK!” I love sports, but I hate sports fans! Love the games (and I use the word “love” very loosely,) but hate (and I use that word KNOWINGLY) some of the people that watch the games.
This guy has "life issues" that Jesus couldn't  fix.
Fan is short for fanatic. Merriam-Webster defines it as “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion. “ Let’s break down this definition. “Excessive enthusiasm” means that even when the team is shitty/average a “fan” is always going to be way too excited about the team. Even as the team yields mediocre results, they'll always think higher of them (the team) than they should. (A’la Cowboy fans, Lakers fans, Yankees fans.)  “Uncritical devotion” means that even when the team and/or players on the team, does something wrong, on or off the field, a fan is unable to render any judgment on their players' or team's wrongdoing. (A’la Kobe/Lakers fans after Colorado. A’la Washington Football Fans that excuse their team's CLEARLY racist nickname. A’la 49ers fan after Aldon Smith does…well anything.)

Even when these guys are dirt bags, cheating, lying, lowdown a-holes, "fans" STILL support them. If the name on the front of the jersey is a team they like, fans will wholeheartedly stand by them like a cheating politician’s wife at one of those apology press conference. Like a person dressed in your favorite team’s gear somehow gives them a pass to commit multiple DUIs, slap their wife/girlfriend and even murder people… allegedly anyway. If these men didn’t run, jump, or throw the ball for a team you liked, then they’d be a public outcast like anyone else would be.
My biggest problem is fans are too stupid to realize they control sports. Not the players, not the owners, the FANS! They, the collective body, don’t realize that without us forking over our hard-earned money for overpriced parking, overpriced hotdogs, overpriced beers and VASTLY overpriced seats, game after game, that teams would be NOTHING. Fans don’t get that the greatest message they could send to a racist owner, or perennially mismanaged franchise, would be leaving their 40,000 plus seat stadium empty on gamenight. Imagine if the Washington Professional Football fans voiced their desire for wanting the team name to be changed by leaving FedEx Field a ghost town on opening Sunday. The name would change from “Redskins” to “Fluffy Love Fairies” by halftime. Fans have that much power but NEVER wield it. (Quick tangent about the Washington football nickname. Ask yourself this; would Dan Snyder, anyone that’s a fan of that team or anyone else feel comfortable addressing a Native American as “Redskin”? Didn’t think so. If you won’t call a person a “Redskin”, why the hell would you call a team that!)

Looking on the outside, I see why it’s so easy to hate us Lakers fans. All we do is talk about "our" 16 titles. Hell, we don’t even have the most which is the most frustrating part about "us" bragging about that fact. (The hated Boston Celtics have 17) If we’re talking about things in a historical context then sure, pound your chest Lakers nation. If someone is stupid enough to want to talk about their team's legacy versus ours, then get at them. Of the ten arguably greatest players ever, four have had on a Lakers jersey at one point in their career. (Magic, Wilt, Kobe, Kareem) But if a person is talking about the here and now, we need to do like all the other fans of hapless franchise right now, (IE Bucks, Cavs, Sixers fans) SHUT THE FUCK UP! We suck.
New rule: Unless you weren't ON THE FIELD playing the game,
or you're NOT under the age of 8, you DON'T get to act like THIS.
Look, I understand that sports can be something more. Something greater. Programs like ESPN's 30-for-30 and E-60 or HBO's Real Sports do an awesome job of showcasing how a game can become something more than, well, more than a game. But for the most part fans need to remember, these are grown men playing a game, not fighting a war or curing cancer mind you, PLAYING A GAME that (BARRING YOU HAVING WAGED YOUR HOUSE ON THE OUTCOME, which is a WHOLE OTHER article), has ZERO effect on your life! My brother didn’t speak to me for weeks after the 49ers Vs. Seahawks game. I don’t care what he says, I KNOW THAT GAME HAD AT LEAST SOMETHING TO DO WITH HIS MOOD. You’d think Richard Sherman personally came in our apartment and slapped this negro the way he was acting. You’d think he was on the field in the  number 7 jersey throwing passes the way he was depressed. Nothing outside of something happening to my children, mother, girlfriend, family or friends could get me that upset.

You see, it’s a problem that after Green Bay Packers losses, domestic violence goes up 45% in the state of Wisconsin! Really?! Why do people put such importance on the outcome of a meaningless event, in the grand scheme of life, that they themselves HAVE NO CONTROL OVER? I’ll never understand that. I mean I get “rec league guy” getting all crazy because he’s there, in the moment. on the court. He’s still crazy but at least he’s going crazy over a game he is ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN AND HAS A CHANCE TO EFFECT THE OUTCOME.

Again... idiot.

Maybe it’s because I’m happy and I don’t have to put sports on this weird pedestal a lot of other fans do. I have two great kids. I have great relationships with my friends and family. I think I have the world’s best job. I’m really lucky I guess, because most people don’t have these “luxuries”. I mean, if I hated one or a few of those things in my life, then maybe, and just maybe, I would try to replace it with something else. But I would not replace it with something I couldn’t control like professional sports.

So from here on out, I’m no longer a Lakers “fan” or a Michigan “fan, or a Lions “fan”, or a “fan” of any other sports team. I’m a Lakers “watcher”.  A Lions “viewer”. A Cubs “observer”. Which Merriam defines as “a person who watches or notices something”. Because the only thing that I have an “excessive enthusiasm” for or an “intense uncritical devotion” to is a little girl named Aaliyah and a little boy named Dominic. (Those are my kids.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Great Point Guard Myth

These players ARE NOT important!
The greatest lie the devil ever told wasn’t convincing the world that he didn’t exist. No, no, no, Lucifer’s best fib was convincing anyone with a higher basketball knowledge in today’s world that guards, in particular point guards, are important to winning a NBA title. You can’t turn on ESPN, TV or radio without hearing talking heads say the same thing over and over again about the NBA. “It’s a point guard driven league.” “Point guard play is so key this time of year.” “You gotta get point great guard play or it’s over.” Every time I hear this I want to punch my laptop.

The NBA is the easiest league to figure out. That’s why it’s not as popular as the NFL. The flexibility and unpredictably of the NFL is what makes it great. Those things, flexibility and unpredictably, make it a better sport to bet on. Anything can happen. The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are the ultimate case study. In 2012, both were a combined 24-7, won their divisions AND a playoff game. One year later, 8-26 and now at the top of the NFL Draft!

Teams like Philly and Kansas City are the same in reverse. Loser in 2012, but winners in 2013. The players contracts aren’t guaranteed in the NFL so players can come and go almost exclusively on their production level. Look at someone like Albert Haysworth in the NFL and Amar’e Stoudemire in the NBA. Both 32 years old. (Haysworth now Stoudemire in November) Both have been shot years ago athletically but because Haysworth was in the NFL he was cut and hasn’t even sniffed a field since 2011, while Stoudemire is still sucking the life out of the New York Knicks. (Cut to Knicks fans punching their laptops and Stoudemire putting on a ski mask to pick up his check while Gilbert Arenas drives the getaway car.) If the NFL was like the NBA, Haysworth would STILL HAVE TWO MORE SEASONS OF CHECKS COMING TO HIM. (RE-READ THAT SENTENCE!)

You can rebuild and retool on the fly in the NFL. Every year you can start over and do it again. Every team has a REAL SHOT! You don’t even have to have a first round pick to find a star in the NFL. Look at the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson was a third round pick. You rarely, and I mean RARELY, get a great player outside of the top ten in the NBA Draft, much least the second round. That’s the NFL’s greatest advantage over the NBA. Philly football fans can honestly believe in their team’s chances to win a Super Bowl this season. If you’re a Philly basketball fan and you think the Sixers are going to win the NBA, you need to run outside and check the date on a newspaper because you’ve traveled back in time to 1982.

Going into this NBA season we could identify roughly five teams with a REAL chance at the title (Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Chicago, and Indiana) and ten teams with the same chances as my six-year old son’s youth summer camp team. (LA Lakers, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Boston, Sacramento, Utah, Orlando, New Orleans, Cleveland and Minnesota.) There are only five guys on the court for each team at one time so naturally the eye test works so much easier in the NBA than the NFL.

Is this man on your team? If not, chances are your team WON'T win it all.
I can’t tell you who the best lineman is in the NFL. I just look at whoever gets voted All-Pro and say “Seems right to me.” I don’t need a NBA expert to tell me LeBron James is the best player. You could bring Martians to Earth with no knowledge of the game of basketball, show them the first half of a Miami game, tell them what numbers are, then ask which player was the best and they’d say the tall one in the number six jersey.

Because the number of players is so small, you could swap LeBron in for the following teams and they have a legit chance to winning the title this season; Clippers, Thunder, Bulls, Portland, Houston, Memphis, Washington, Spurs, and Pacers.You could put James on ANY team they’d all win at least 50 games and make the playoffs. Put Peyton Manning on the Jags and the Jags are STILL gonna suck. Look at how the same roster fell apart after he left Cleveland that first season. This isn’t a best point guard wins league, it’s a best PLAYER wins league. The only time the best point guard wins the title is if the best player just HAPPENS to be a point guard. Lets look at the past champions, their starting point guard and see when best point guard wins the title.

2013-12 Heat: The Immortal Mario Chalmers.
2011 Mavs: Jason “I Became A Coach Two Years Later” Kidd.
2009-10 Lakers: Derek “Never Made an All-Star, All-Anything, NBA Team” Fisher
2008 Celtics: Rajon “At The Time I was the weak link” Rondo
2007 Spurs: Tony “Only One All-Star, not as good as I am now” Parker
2006 Heat: Jason “White Chocolate/Flash In Pan” Williams
2005 Spurs: Tony “Not Good Yet” Parker
2004 Pistons: Chauncey “You Didn’t Know I Was An All-Star Yet” Billups
2003 Spurs: Tony “Even Worst” Parker
2002-00 Lakers: Derek “As Good As I’ll Get And STILL Never Be An All-Star” Fisher
1999 Spurs: Avery “The only individual award I’ll win is Coach Of the Year” Johnson
1998-96 Bulls: Ron “Guess What? I never made an All-Star Either” Harper
1995-94 Rockets: Kenny “More famous for being Barkley’s second banana” Smith
1993-91 Bulls: John “Never made an All-Star” Paxton
1990-89 Pistons: Isiah "FINALLY" Thomas

Magic and Isiah. Last of the great point guards to win NBA Championship

I had to go ALLLL the way back to 1990 for the last “best point guard in the league” NBA title. (And Isiah being the best is debatable cause Magic was still Magic so the best point guard may have not even WON the title those seasons.) And the last best player being a point guard title was the 1988 Lakers with Magic. Having a great point guard is about as important as having a “great” pinky toe. You technically need one, but you’ll live without it.

There is one way to win a title. Have one of the five best players in the league at the time, PLUS at least one active “I can make or made” an All-Star teammate. Jordan was the best but had Pippen. Shaq was the best but had Kobe. Kobe was the best but had Pau. LeBron is the best, but has Wade & Bosh.
Serious how the hell did the Mavs win the 2011 title?
Only the 1994 Houston Rockets had the best player do it solo. The 2004 Detroit Pistons were aliens. (Hindsight shows us that Detroit had four All-Stars in Billups, Hamilton, Wallace Ben and Rasheed both that is. But they still should not have been able to win.) And the 2011 Dallas Mavericks themselves still can’t believe they won. 

They didn’t have the best player or an active All-Star sidekick. Dirk was an All-Star but wasn’t even a top five in the league guy at the time. I still have NO clue how they won that title over Miami. You can’t say 2008 Celtics didn't have a top five guy because KG finished second in the MVP so he was clearly one of the five best players.

This isn’t rocket science. This is as easy as it gets. We don’t need to waste time talking about point guard play. All you need from your point guard is a guy who can just keep it together. Someone who doesn’t make a huge mistake in the huge moment. You don’t need the best point guard. You just need the best guy, regardless of position. That “best point guard” moniker has gotten Chris Paul NO TITLES. Derrick Rose, NO TITLE. Steve Nash, NO TITLES. Jason Kidd, NO TITLE in his prime. Gary Payton NO TITLE in his prime.

Want to know if your team is going to win the title? Ask yourself two simple questions. “Does my team have the best player?” “Does my team have one of the five best players?” If the answer to either or both was no, then no. If the answer to one or both was yes, then maybe. And maybe is a hell of a lot better than no.

Friday, May 2, 2014

"...And Martin Luther King Jr Had Hoes"

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity

As insightful as I am, the quote above is not from my own hand. It’s from the famed African –American socialist W.E.B. Du Bois. What you’re about to read here holds nowhere near the intellectual gravity of something like The Soul of Black Folk.  This is a tongue-in-cheek and very politically incorrect social commentary on a few age-old "certainties" in the Black community.

Self awareness is the hardest thing for anyone to do, so I don't expect this to be easy to read if you're Black. And it shouldn't be. I believe that we, as a Black people, need to shine the brightest light on ourselves. 

The Police Aren’t Always Out to Get Us!

Let me tell you a little secret. Most people live their lives with little to NO interaction with law enforcement. Why is that? Because they don’t place themselves in situations where the police SHOULD be involved. Sure, Blacks are sometimes unfairly treated by the police. I myself have been “harassed” a time or two, but a lot of times, I must admit I was doing something I shouldn't or I was in a place where someone else was doing something they shouldn’t. Think really hard about an interaction with the police. Remove your emotion and you'll see that 99.999% of the time they probably had a fair and reasonable excuse to be there.

Two sides to every story. Don't do anything to get you a**kicked
then mostly you won't get you ass kicked.

During a conversation with a police officer, (And he was a Black police officer) on a film set I learned something that makes a lot of sense. "If the police is soap and every neighborhood is a body, the police in your neighborhood has to deal with the “armpits” and "asshole" " the officer said. "Every part of the body is the same color, and not all parts smell. In fact, some parts are really nice, but when you're always getting jammed in the ass you're just going to assume everywhere stinks and needs to be scrubbed." 

You have to be mindful that the police never get calls where people say things like “Hey we’re having a party and just wanted to see if you guys wanted to come hangout with us.” 

They get called because someone in f**king up. They’re almost exclusively dealing with people committing or suspected of committing crimes. So when this officer was in a black neighborhood, he was always dealing with the lower end of Black culture, and as unfair as it was he too started to get a “slanted view” of all Black people. Same thing happened with Mexicans when he worked that beat. Same thing was happening now that he was working a beat in a White neighborhood. That's just human nature man. Unfair? Yes, but anyone would start to feel that way. “Cops who work in White neighborhoods look at all White people the same way cops working in our neighborhoods look at all Black people; potential suspects.”

Soul Food SUCKS!

I’m writing a movie and I have a great line about soul food that I’ll use here and now. "The easiest thing for a people to pass down is their food and their recipes. An important part of a culture is what the people eat. Unfortunately for African-Americans we were victims of slavery. This means we were left to eat whatever our masters didn't. Pigs feet, chittlins, hog maws, neck bones and all the other shit that wasn't originally meant for human consumption. So in turn we've passed down a shitty diet from generation to generation."

The "soul" may be the only think this meal is good for,
because it damn sure ain't good for anything else in your body.

There is a reason that Blacks are more likely to have high blood pressure, be obesity, or get diabetes. Most of these diseases are centered on a person’s diet and Black people have been eating so badly for so long that our genes were literally reshaped! As good as soul food is, few things on the menu have real nutritional value. We as a people need to put down the fried chicken and collard greens and pick up some steamed veggies and baked fish. We need to introduce healthy recipes to create a better diet for our children and start to reverse at least one of the effects of slavery that still impact us today.

OJ Probably Did It.


Really nothing else to say. That negro’s guilty.

We Don't Give The Good White People Get Enough Credit

If you know me, I can be a bit… should I say “militant”. There are times where I say things that make Kanye West look like Carlton Banks from Fresh PrinceLook at Civil Rights like a game of a tug-of-war between giants and men. We needed a few giants to switch sides, pull WITH us, and swing public opinion for more giants to join in. Civil Rights took a real turn after this moment.

John F. Kennedy, the most powerful and recognizable White man in the country, instantly helped vilify every racist in a way Martin Luther King JR never could do. They were not only shamed by one of their own but the most important of their own. What JFK really did was act as an example for the rest of White America on the fence about Civil Rights to follow. He helped Whites that would have otherwise continued to stand pat, get off their asses and join our cause. In a sense, he  “co-signed” for us and that helped fast-track civil rights.

My greatest point is this: A White person that TRULY cared about Civil Rights in 1960’s showed real courage. If you were Black in 1960's, you were supposed to show courage. If your house is burning down, you’re SUPPOSE to run in and save YOUR kids. Hell it’s YOUR house! Sure it’s still a brave action but it’s an EXPECTED, and I’d even say a required action. You see your neighbor on the other hand doesn’t have to lift a finger. Why should they? Their house is fine, their kids are fine, why should they risk their lives? 

Can you name the two white guys in this picture and/or tell me
why the greatest Civil Right leader is holding it?
That’s not only a brave action but it’s a selfless sacrifice. A White person siding with Blacks on Civil Rights in early 20th Century would mean becoming a social outcast, and in the south, it could even mean death. Yes, more White people were on the opposite side of the fence, let’s not be so quick to dismiss the ones that were willingly hand-in-hand with us. We should honor those that fought with us because they are just as much a part of Black History. Because Black History is American History.

The Union Winning The Civil War Was The Worst Thing to Happen to The Country.

This is so much more complex than you think. If you’re still reading, this one is going to change the way you view that war forever. It’s going to take a minute but stay with me.

There is no debating it. The Civil War had to happen. Slavery is a black eye that this country WILL never erase. Ever. While the Union’s victory propelled the country forward, that same victory sealed us to a fate, in some respects, far worse.

What makes this country different from every other country on this planet? It’s not our freedoms and liberties. Canada, England, and France enjoy many of the same ones you and I do. In some cases, like free health care, even better ones. What about our wealth and technology? Japan is just as advanced. China’s just as rich. Then what makes us different? We’re the only country where the people have a fear of the government and not the other way around.

Sure there are other governments that are far more ruthless, but it’s because those governments have a real and palpable fear of its people. For a good reason too. Every great civilization have been able to successfully overthrow their government at one point or another. Look at what happened in the Middle East a few years ago. Those people were successful in overthrowing incompetent and cruel leaders, giving their country new starts from the ashes of rebellion. Of course some of those situations still aren’t ideal and most have years of unrest ahead, but you know what? They were still ABLE to do something which is more than us here in America can say. We can’t do anything to change our government.

Why is that? How can issues that have over 90% of the voting population's support still not pass in Congress? Why can’t something as universally agreed upon like raising the minimum wage happen? How can the vast majority of the public think something should change and it still not change? Why do lawmakers seem to do whatever cooperations want and NOT what the people want? Because all those years ago when Robert E. Lee surrendered, he also surrendered the people’s ability to ever truly question our government ever again. That victory empowered US government over the people and the stranglehold has never loosened. In fact, it was tightened, with added agencies like the FBI, NSA and the CIA. And with laws like the Patriot Act.
The Civil War was a MUCH needed moment in
American History, but it was ultimately a waste.
By trying to keep the asinine and archaic practice of slavery intact, those idiots in the South forced the government to stand on the right side of history. We, the Independent American people, post Revolutionary War, used our first chance for Civil Revolution to keep f**king slavery intact! Really?!

It’s like going to a school where some of the policies suck for it's students. Not all but things really need to change. Say you somehow break into the principal's office, hijack the intercom and you have a chance to talk to the entire school. A chance for the students to be heard. A chance to make a real impact, but you use the platform to try and keep an even stupider policy intact. The powers that be then break down the door, kick you off the intercom AND punish you…severely. The school then goes against your suggested policy, thus making them look smarter and you dumber. Because of your stupidity the school tightens security and kills any chance of EVER letting a student speak up. All the while masking the real problem; that some kind of CHANGE needed to happen. You’ve successful empowered a flawed system into thinking it’s flawless.

Since 1865, the government's have been looking at the American people as simpleminded boobs that can’t think for themselves. Foolish simpletons that would be lost without Uncle Sam’s guiding hand. They don’t listen to the people because the last time the people had a real chance to talk the people stood up for something really really really stupid.

Closing Thoughts

Now before you call me an "Uncle Tom", let me tell you a few things about me. That opening quote you read? I knew it by heart. I’d venture to say before reading this, most of you didn’t know who W.E.B. Du Bois was, much less read something like The Soul of Black Folk, which I have. I can tell you the day Fred Hampton died. Do you know who that is and why he's important? I’ve read Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm Xtwice. I knew about Solomon Northup some ten years before his story became the Oscar winning film 12 Years A Slave because I read part of the book in high school. I say all these things to let you know I'm someone that knows my history and knows the history of his people.

I get it. There are tons of things that happened in this country that were well beyond our control. If life is a race, and America is the stadium, from 1776 to about 1900, Blacks were expected to run AND win a race from OUTSIDE the stadium. From 1900-1975 we were in the stadium but expected to win starting 20 yards behind the other runners WITH 15 pound lead shoes. From 1975 to now, Blacks are running that same race, finally free of the weighted shoes, but we still start about 15 yards off the pace.

If anything, our disadvantages should make us stronger, better, faster, and smarter than everyone else not weaker. But we don’t think like that. We just see limits and hurdles rather than building blocks and strengthening opportunities. Too often we quit before we even try. We don’t have the same drive as the generations before us. We’re too comfortable. Most Black folks think "The Struggle" is over. Why? Because we have a Black President, we can sit in the front of a bus and sh*t in same toilets as White folks?

Even with those early handicaps, Blacks like Fredrick Douglas, Mary McLeod and Garrett Morgan STILL made something of themselves. They found a way to rise above the circumstances of the world they lived in and outshine Whites that had far greater advantages. If you're reading this and you're Black tell me something; what's your excuse some 100 years later? I'd hate for heaven to be a real place, have someone like Booker T. Washington ask me how come I didn't make something more of myself, me have to look him in his eyes and say, "It was too hard".