Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Cry for South Sudan

This past January marked the historic vote that granted Southern Sudan its independence. The country has suffered from a two decade old north-south civil war and the vote was a part of the 2005 peace deal. Despite the country's violent past, including the genocide in its Darfur region, January's vote was relatively peaceful. I can't say I am very familiar with the country's history or its politics, but I was fairly optimistic about what would become of Sudan's future. Though equipped with high levels of illiteracy, malnutrition, infant mortality and other effects of structural poverty, I thought that the newly determined independent southern state would provide a sense of closure for the citizens who have had to endure years of systemic violence.

And then there is this. Published in New York Times' contributor Nicholas D. Kristof's blog, this letter is from a South Sudanese humanitarian worker trapped amidst the massacre currently taking place:

Thursday, 16 June 2011
Dear my fellow tribesmen and women, this is a call of hope and prayers. I am stuck in the middle of the heavy shooting and bombardments at the UNMIS Camp in Kadugli. We are about 26 South Sudanese.

All lives are at risk, all are accused to be Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) supporters. We have almost no food, no water, no proper security, and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Popular Defense Forces (PDF) are planning to attack the camp and take us by force. International staff members have already evacuated, leaving us behind in a very harmful act as they did in Somalia, Rwanda and elsewhere. The United Nations head of office leader made it clear that they don’t have any capacity to ensure our security and protection. Moreover, one local U.N. staff member was killed at the main gate. The Egyptian army was unable to protect him.

This is a call of hope and solidarity, please advocate and mobilize the world so that we are released or at least our security is granted by the U.N. and the Government of Southern Sudan or the Government of National Unity. As you know we are humanitarian workers and have no affiliation to political parties, so please move the possible resources to alleviate this suffering, and please post this to all media over the globe.

I'm still figuring out the 5 W's and 1 H about what is happening now so please feel free to fill me in the comments below. From what I understand, the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir and his government have been pursuing an ethnic cleansing campaign in the region right above Southern Sudan- the South Kordofan state. I don't know the number of people killed in the recent escalating violence but approximately 1,500 civilians have been slain this year and over 100,000 have been displaced.

Some are saying that this may be Obama's Rwanda but I don't agree considering how troubled Sudan was before the recent uproar. I guess what frustrates me is the arbitrariness of America's decision to intervene in international crises. If you were President Obama, what would you do???

Tupac Back? Who Shot Ya?

Well not quite. But if the current blogosphere gossip is any indication, we might now have some new information regarding one of the biggest controversies in hip hop/rap and black culture. According to, they learned exclusively just who it was that played a roll in the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur. And his letter seems to be calling out key persons who might be linked in some way to a role in the death of Tupac Shakur.

The death of Biggie and Tupac still leaves a huge impact on music and black culture. On the one hand, after both deaths went unsolved, black used these as further examples of the uselessness of law enforcement when dealing with black crime. If you can't trust the police and FBI to not be corrupt and help high profile cases, how can they help the regular man. On the other hand, that west coast vs. east coast beef in rap died down, though the regional distinctions are still seen today.

The youngins may not understand, but those of my age group and older really felt what was happening when the news reported the deaths of both these legendary artists. It was a shock and a tragedy for us, like the death of Princess Diana for the UK. Both were some of the greatest rap artists ever and were gunned down before their legends could fully come to fruition.

But the legend of Tupac came about in a different way. It turned from talking about his impact on music to Is Tupac Really Dead? I remember getting into many debates as a kid, where most of us youngins would totally make the argument that he was definitely alive, just chillin on some island like Cuba. Because how else could he still be making all these albums? And we were so sure that someone had seen him walking around in Miami. Ah the days of youth.

But deep down we all know that Tupac died that fateful day in 1996 and the events leading up to his death are the stuff made for movies. 
A man has admitted to being involved in the attack on rap star Tupac Shakur in 1994, inside Manhattan's Quad Studios in November of 1994, after allegedly being paid $2,500 dollars by James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond.
Dexter Isaac, a former friend of Rosemond, is an inmate currently serving life in prison for murder, robbery and other offenses. 
Isaac came forward Wednesday (June 15th) with the information on the eve of what would be Tupac's 40th birthday. 
He confessed to his involvement in the November 30th, 1994 robbery of Tupac Shakur to, after Jimmy Henchman identified him in a statement, relating to Henchman's indictment for dealing numerous kilos of cocaine. 
 But it gets better. According to Mr. Isaac:
Now I'm not going to talk about my friend Biggie's death or 2Pac's death, but I would like to give their mother's some closure. It's about time that some one did, and I will do so at a different time. Jimmy, you and Puffy like to come off all innocent-like, but as the saying goes: You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Bam! Now if that isn't some parting shots I don't know what is. And it looks like Mr. Isaac has something to say regarding Biggie's and Tupac's deaths, but will wait to tell more. Talk about suspense. I'm getting my popcorn ready.

So what do yall think? Is Tupac still alive and well somewhere in Cuba? Will either of these cases ever be solved? And who do you think shot Tupac and Biggie? 

Let the conspiracy begin anew! 

Shout out to the YBF for the heads up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I'm Gonna Do Now?

Yes. This is exactly what you think it is. Another birthday shout-out.

You're probably thinking: How you not going to post for a week then come back with this? Yet another birthday post, can you get some new material?!

Well my dear friends. Life has been calling. I've been drinking. Taking care of my family (no kids yet #pause). And playing Cafe World on facebook. I've been busy. Sue me.


Actually this was going to be just that, but my girl lemonswithsalt beat me to it. So I decided to sit on this post for a bit to figure out just what I wanted to say. And then it came to me.

One of my best friends, the very wonderful Zipporah Pearce, is leaving me to go back home.  Sure I'll see her when I decide to hop on the bus and take that ride to her home area. And sure I'll be able to talk with her through gchat and email and comment on her facebook posts. But she won't be here. And I realize that I both haven't taken advantage of seeing her enough and have become very comfortable with her being in such a close distance to me. Because the reality is, I don't have many black friends in my area. It's probably ironic because I live in one of the metropolitan cities in America (sorry no brownie points for guessing which one), and there is no lack of black people. Yet the vast majority of my black (and Latino) friends live in other cities. And that poses a problem.

Because sometimes you just wanna hang with black people.

Now don't get me wrong. I love love love all my friends and I love going out with all of them, no matter who they are or what race they are. I wouldn't be friends with them otherwise. But sometimes you just want to be with who and what you know best. And for me that is with my fellow black people. Sometimes I just want to grind up on a dude in a hood ass club. Sometimes I want to chill in a funky lil dive bar which has the DJ spinning O'Jays while I'm sipping on some E&J and diet Coke. And sometimes I just want to talk about my issues with negroes who make the rest of us look bad.

Sure I could bring some of my white friends to that hood ass club, and I've done so before. It was fun and a new experience for them. But if I want to crack on some black chick who has on a tacky ass weave or rant about some racist ass picture about some black woman I saw earlier that day, my black friends (especially the three ladies I'm doing this blog with) are clutch, because more often than not we are on the same wavelengths about these things. That's not to say my other friends wouldn't get what I'm saying or vibe with me, but there are many things in black culture that only other black people can truly vibe with. Just like there are things my white, Asian, Indian, etc. friends can't really talk to me about. That's just reality.

And my reality is setting in. I will admit to having only 1 or 2 black people in my area that I can really vibe with. A part of it is my fault as I have just fallen off with people, but the telephone line works both ways. But at the same time I realize that its time to get out there and rebuild bridges that are in shambles and create some new bridges along the way. I'm going to take care of the few friendships I do have with the blacks in my area and reach out to those who I've connected with before. And I'm going to invite my other friends to things that I might have before only invited my black friends to. And I'm hoping it will replace the hole Zipporah's leaving.

I'm going to miss Zipporah's presence but I know she's not too far from me and that our friendship will remain strong no matter the distance. I'll still be able to vibe with her even if not in person. And I know it will be messy when we do get together. I'm probably going to tear up when I see her for drinks next week but I wanted to shout her out for being that fantastic friend I could vibe with. Here's to you homie.

Y'all know I had to put this in there. Now this is some good music to vibe to. The stuff of legends.

Racist Republican Ridiculousness

In an effort to discredit Janice Hahm, a Democrat running for Congress in California, some douche by the name of Ladd Ehlinger Jr. was compelled to create this campaign ad.

It's racist, misogynistic and unfortunately, non-satirical. I most offended by the poor choice of font!

The runoff between Councilwoman Hamn and her opponent, businessman and Tea Party favorite, Craig Huey is scheduled for July 12. Hamn has been accused, mostly by conservatives, for providing city funds to criminals who participated in gang intervention programs. While she has been a longtime advocate of decreasing gang activity in her district in Los Angeles, her Gang Alternatives Program did not directly give money to the gang workers involved. But Republicans ignored the pesky truth and continued with their smear campaign.

I never believed the Tea Party's ideologies were rooted in racism but there is no debate about it having racist elements, no matter what the real black man, Herman Cain may claim. So while the fairly nascent political movement has enjoyed moderate success in the last couple of years, shenanigans like this are going to continue to limit the little legitimacy they have in national politics. The ad isn't not officially associated with Craig Hamn but his campaign's silence since the ad surfaced is disturbing. This reflects the crossroads the Republican Party is in for next year's election season. How do you get support from a sizable voting bloc and escape their perpetual offensive antics?

You can't.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New York N**gas Got Crazy Game!

Yo, this song is bananas! With it being Lord Tariq and Peter Gunzs' biggest hit, this headbanger still goes hard nearly fifteen years later. The lyrics are vulgar, the message is typical and the beat is addictive. The result? Another great, mindless rap song from the 90's. Reppin the Soundview section of the South Bronx, this rap duo also was also featured on Mariah Carey's remix for "My All." They were decent lyricists, I'm surprised that after their collaboration and affiliation with hip hop heavyweights like Big Pun, Wyclef Jean and Cam'ron, they were not not more successful.

So thank you Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz for providing us with this club classic.
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