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A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The U.S.A.

#Repost from @reggieosse

A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The U.S.A.

#Repost from @reggieosse

How are you?
No,
don’t tell me that you’re doing good
or that you are fine,
you and I both know that you are so far from both of those things,
tell me,
when was the last time you thought about death?
When was the last time you cried and what finally made the tears fall after all that time?
what is your story of loss?
What words break you?
What words put you back together?
When was the first time you understood the depth of the word “goodbye?”
When was the first time the only thing you could do was lay on the floor and cry because nothing else in the world made sense but brokenness?
When was the last time you really and truly laughed?
Can you remember that far back?
What was on your mind when you got those scars on your leg?
What lies have you believed lately?
When was the first time you understood what “I love you” meant?
Who made you so broken?
Have you even tried to put yourself back together?
Tell me,
tell me,
do you love yourself?
how much of your skin can you find constellations in?
have you ever tried to understand your eyes?
have you pressed your fingertips to your own lips hoping nothing else mattered in the world if your lips were your own?
have you ever made yourself believe the lie that you aren’t worth it?
why?
how is the weather in your heart?
is it a hurricane or a tsunami?
is there fog surrounding your soul?
have you ever loved another more than you loved to breathe?
when was the last time you really and truly believed that your life was worth living?
I’ve never really been good at small talk (via wethinkwedream)

Real shit…

(via iamsweetgloss)

Cruising… #JRTV #ComingSoon #Cadillac #ELR @districtdrive

My imagination has a career, I’m just tagging along.
Bob Guccione
THE TEN BEST CARTOON THEMES OF THE 80’s

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The mind is a funny thing. In the middle of writing my thoughts on a certain subject, I made a mention to Scrooge McDuck, the greedy Scottish grinch of a mallard in Disney’s 1983 Mickey’s Christmas Carol and ultimately the animated series Duck Tales. And just like that, I’m scrolling through YouTube looking for my favorite cartoon opening themes in a decade where greed was good to our elders but knowing being half the battle was the kiddies’ gospel. After taking a trip down memory lane, I decided to honor my childhood, and many who grew up in the 80’s by constructing this list of the 10 best cartoon songs of the decade.

Let me preface this by saying, this isn’t to say these toons were the best of all-time, only their catchy songs. Oh, and no, there will be no inclusion of Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man, Thundercats or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on this list. Of course these titles would be on such a list. That’s why they’re omitted…too predictable.

[NOTE: CLICK ON THE LINK OF THE TITLES TO REMINISCE]

#10—DUCK TALES (1987)

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Okay, this is predictable! But out of all the titles that were just mentioned, this chipper little ditty about a greedy billionaire’s Indiana Jones-like quest for more baubles along with his trio of nephews has to be the standout. Because of its predictability in the consciousness of 80’s babies everywhere, it’s ranked this low. It’s also the same reason it’s on here. What list about 80’s cartoons doesn’t have this show on there? “You ain’t got no Duck Tales, nucca?”

#9—HEATHCLIFF (1984)

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It can be said that the majority of the 80’s cartoon songs can easily be buried in a soundtrack of your favorite John Hughes coming-of-age flick, without anybody stopping their Breakfast Club-like dancing and pressing the rewind button on their Sony Walkman. Why, because it’s so damn memorable, that’s why. This tune accompanying the adventures of Garfield’s doppelganger and the Catillac Cats is definitely one of those songs, if not the quintessential one of its kind.   

#8—C.O.P.S. (1988)

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In all honesty, this opening song is more my speed than Inner Circle’s annoying “Bad Boys” for the real life COPS series. There’s an old school sensibility that meets the menacing new school baseline and frenetic feel to the introduction. You can give a nod to the collaboration of hard-nosed, do-good, by the book flatfoots “fighting crime…in a future time” to why this is so. Besides, even though the basis of the list is strictly classic opening songs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that another reason this series is so beloved is because it was the first time I saw, and I’m sure many of my color and generation, an African-American in a leadership role rather than play the smart-mouthed third or fourth fiddle. Sorry, Panthro from Thundercats. Wait…Special Agent Baldwin P. “Bulletproof” Vess was voiced by a white guy? Son of a bitch!

#7—JEM! (1985)

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Remember that episode of Saved By The Bell (then, Good Morning, Miss Bliss which was set in Indiana and pegged Hayley Mills as the main character, not Mark-Paul Gosselaar) where a pop star named Stevie, who is actually a student in the fictional JFK Junior High School, performs her hit “Hotline” to the clueless student body in a loud metallic get up and a big wig? Yeah, precursor for Hannah Montana, for sure. But if you don’t believe that Jem! and its lead-in song was the inspiration for that episode, I have a massive supply of AquaNet hairspray collecting two decades worth of dust to sell you. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

#6—BIONIC SIX (1987)

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See what I did here? Ha! Anyway, this is the Growing Pains of the 80’s cartoon landscape, with a sprinkle of United Nations of Benetton flavor (guess that would make Eric Bennett’s Sport-1 Kirk Cameron and Jack Bennett’s Bionic-1 Alan Thicke, then)—complete with its own “family is what keeps us strong” infectious opening opus.

#5—SILVERHAWKS (1986)

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The bridge in the minute-long opening theme, alone—riddled with totally awesome Eddie Van Halen-esque electric guitar licks—gives this classically underrated cartoon placement on this list. The action figures were pretty friggin’ dope, too. Tally Ho, bitches!

#4—MUPPET BABIES (1984)

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Images of The Fonz smacking a jukebox on and Sunday brunches after church at Johnny Rockets dance in my head. Of course, as a yout, I had no idea about Doo-Wop and the 50’s shooby-dooby-do sound, which was executed perfectly by Hank Saroyan and Rob Walsh who wrote and produced a majority of the songs throughout the show’s seven-year run. Yes, looking back, the lyrics were pretty simplistic (“Muppet Babies, we make our dreams come true Muppet Babies, we’ll do the same for you”). But to a legion of little tykes encouraged by singing pigs, frogs, bears and a Gonzo, to use the power of imagination, the message, as well as the series, was all too powerful.

#3—PEANUTS

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Curveball…good grief! This cartoon was never produced in the 80’s—the comic strip turned animated in the 60’s—and was never a Saturday morning cartoon or after school programmed staple. But the amount of times Charlie Brown and the gang were shown throughout the decade, whether it be during the classic prime-time holiday specials or the occasional It’s A Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, it’s hard pressed not to have a favorite tune running through your head once toward the end of every year. And amongst the many musical productions, the bouncy “Linus and Lucy” by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who scored 17 of Peanuts 30 television specials, is considered the franchise’s theme by default…just ask the people at MetLife. Though, a strong case can be made for “Christmas Time Is Here”. Matter of fact, having the entire A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack in your iTunes is highly recommended for any music aficionado, especially one of jazz.

#2—INSPECTOR GADGET (1983)

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First off, damn Disney for attempting to ruin my image of the bumbling bionic gumshoe by releasing a live action film starring Ferris Bueller in ‘99 (God bless you, Matthew Broderick and the way you break the fourth wall so seamlessly)! Never was there a perfect cartoon marriage of music and imagery in an opening theme. What was there that wasn’t indelible to an impressionable child? The slow and sinister opening riff with an upside down Gadget turned right side up only to see he’s holding his ID upside down? The baseline, which perfectly accompanied our hero’s bungling ways, not to mention Chief Quimby catching the brunt of said bungling? The breathy melodic whispers of the show’s title? The Gadgetmobile transforming as the song kicks into second gear? Or the montage of the real masterminds behind the trench-coated protagonist’s greatness, which were his niece Penny (Cree Summer, always amazing!) and the lively but muted dog Brain? To this day, whenever I hear the opening to Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” it triggers a, “Hoo, Hoo” out of nowhere. Maybe that’s because the orchestral song inspired the cartoon song. There’s a fun fact you can spout at your next 80’s-themed game night, while playing Uno, Pictionary and Simon.

 

#1—ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS (1983)

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“Watch out…cause here we come. It’s been a while, but we’re back with style, so get…set to have some fun. We’ll bring you action and satisfaction. We’re the Chipmunks…C-H-I-P-M-U-N-K. We’re the Chipmunks…guaranteed to brighten your day. When you…feel like a laugh. Give us a call, we’ll give you our all. And if…you feel like a song. Tune in to us and sing right along. We’re the Chipmunks…coming on stronger than ever before. We’re the Chipmunks…Alvin, Simon, Theodore! Do, do…do, do, do, do! Do, do…do, do, do, do!”

Yeah…that just happened.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

VOLTRON (1984)

DENNIS THE MENACE (1984)

PUNKY BREWSTER (1985)

GUMMI BEARS (1985)

SMURFS (1981)

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS (INSOMNIA)

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3:58am…ugh!

What am I doing? Where am I going? This is so pointless. Why can’t I go night night?

Shuffle…

Ugh…What if I fail…meeting expectations I’ve bestowed upon myself? Meeting expectations I perceive others, dead or alive, have bestowed upon me. Meeting expectations…

What if I succeed?

I’m going to prove these fuckers wrong…They can all choke on an elephant’s dick…

Shuffle…

I hope my mother is proud of me. Is her spirit is resting? Is there a heaven or hell and where will I be once it’s all said and done?

Do unto others as others do unto you…I wish people who claim to be God fearing would follow the Golden Rule. I’m in a field where snakes reign supreme and there are 1000 Kanes to your Able.

I’m too honest for this…I’m too prideful for this…I’m too good for this…

Only if I didn’t travel the path unbeaten…I wouldn’t be here…

I’ve lived righteously. I am blessed and highly favored. God bless the lost…

Shuffle….

4:10am…ugh!

Wake up, wake up, wake up…it’s the first of the month….


How will I pay my rent? I’m already 5 days past due…I need a job, a steady stream of income. I’m not going to take just any job. My resume shows I move forward, not backward. That’s what I was taught growing up, right?

Shuffle….Shuffle….Shuffle…


Let’s see, credit card bill…cell phone bill…car note…car insurance…


Fuck. I’ll take any job at this point…

At least tax season is approaching…

Wait, did I get taxes taken out of my freelance checks this year? Shit…

Shuffle…

4:15am…ugh!


Why can’t I sleep? Should I see a doctor about this? The body plays tricks on you…

Restless…push-ups…

Wired…need a release…

Shuffle….


Wonder if she’s up…I should text her…There’s an energy there that I find very intriguing…

I wonder is she’s up…I don’t want to wake her. I’ll IM her later…Maybe we should give it another go…we were both at fault…

Oh hell, I know she’s up. Nah, I’m good…Not going down that road again…Must’ve thought of her because I want to fuck….

Need to talk myself to sleep…Need ears to be receptive…

Shuffle….

Companionship…Good company…fulfillment…

Ladies, I love you, but I love my freedom more…

Comfortable in my solitude. Nobody will get that…

Finding happiness inside of another is an action that leads to bondage…

Shuffle….

I’m stuck in a basement sitting on a tricycle, girl getting on my nerves…Going out of my mind, I thought she was fine. don’t know if her body is hers….

Yawn….Shuffle…

I miss the 90s….Can it be that it was all so simple then…

The reason why we always say how a certain period in time was the best time of our lives is simply because we were young. Everything was fun when we were younger.

I miss my youth…

Yawn…

Throwback Thursdays…

Instagram, a window into the emo and the insecure…

Same goes for social media…

Hey, look at me…Duck face….Blue Steel…

What the hell is wrong with us, lost society of sheep…

What the hell is wrong with me…I should write this out…Don’t want to move…

I’m a complex individual….Actually, we all are….Nobody is more special than the next regardless of degree of status or pay grade…

I should tweet that…

Yawn…

Insecure? Eh, to an extent. We all are just depends on to what degree, just like jealousy…

Shuffle….Yawn…Shuffle….

Finally, a comfortable position. This pillow is soft…

4:59am

What will the next 24 have in store for me? I need…to…get this project off the ground. I’m going to have to contact….


Yawn…

…such and such about such and such…

What if I fail…meeting expectations….What am I doing?

Shuffle…

Why can’t I go night night?

5:15am…yawn…fading…

MADE IN THE U.S.A.

Due to some high-profile incidents of racial-profiling on African-American consumers, the awareness of the social crime has never been more prevalent. One writer’s experience puts a magnifying glass on the issue.

By Sean A. Malcolm


“Well, there is no layaway plan.”

Those words uttered by an intimidated and badly tanned store clerk in the 1992 romantic comedy, Boomerang—where he shadows and ultimately insults Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and David Allen Grier (“We don’t keep cash in the store”)—jogged through my mind as I approached Bergdorf Goodman on the rainy eve of Thanksgiving. It’s no newsflash that people of color, especially blacks, normally aren’t welcomed with open arms at high-end retail stores. In a 2009 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 60 percent of blacks said they have felt unwelcomed from store clerks and 54 percent said retailers denied them equal treatment. The average person sees Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season as a consumer holiday for all Americans, regardless of age or race. But African-American shopping on the proverbial golden sidewalks of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue or Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive and a Caucasian perusing those same commerce capitals are contrasting experiences. For blacks, it often begins with the anxiety of approaching foreign land. For every Steve that swings in and out of stores like Louis Vuitton with the ease of a person that bears the surname, there’s a Stephon that doesn’t have the psychological luxury of being at home in any posh department chain. He travels to shop with the pre-notion of not being wanted at his destination. Once Stephon arrives, the staff usually reminds that he’s unwanted and viewed as inferior, or worse, a criminal.

“Most of the time I either get no attention and they ignore me because they don’t think I’m a customer, or they show me too much attention because they think I’m going to steal something,” says “Wilson,” an African-American New Yorker in his early 30’s, on the treatment he’s received in luxury stores. “I’ve walked in and been asked, ‘Hi. What do you want?’ as opposed to, ‘Hi. Can I help you? I’ve also been told ‘The sale rack is over there, if you’re looking for something,’ and I didn’t even ask for it. It made me feel subhuman.”

Further proving the risk of SWB—Shopping While Black—isn’t just regulated to the common Nubian workingman, Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis offered her own take. “That’s the story of my life. My gosh, I mean, that’s been happening since the beginning of time,” Davis admitted to CNN on the red carpet of her latest film, Ender’s Game, in late October. “I’m gonna go into the store and you’re gonna have to just follow me and you’re gonna waste about, I don’t know, an hour or half-hour of your time following me because I’m not gonna steal anything.”

The racial profiling incidents of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips at Barneys New York and Rob Brown at Macy’s Herald Square affirms that there’s no wolf crying in brown town. Christian, 19, who purchased a $350 Ferragamo belt, and Phillips, 21, who copped a $2500 Celine bag, were both falsely arrested under the suspicion of credit card fraud. The same for Brown––last June, the 29-year-old actor, of HBO’s Treme fame, was handcuffed after buying a Movado watch for his mother on the day of her college graduation. All three African-Americans have filed separate lawsuits against the accused department stores and New York Police Department. “I know a lot of undercover security guards so I can see them walking around looking for certain people,” says a black thirty-something Sales Associate at Macy’s Herald Square, who agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity. “The people that they look at are usually black.”

At the entrance of Bergdorf, I found my resolve and committed myself to the black shopping experience. The rain soaked doorman, who slightly resembled Chris Farley, swung the revolving door for me to enter. “How are you doing?” he warmly greeted. Unlike the suited and booted look Murphy, Lawrence and Grier sported, I was dressed to the nines in baggy camo pants, a hoodie, fitted baseball cap and duck boots. However, while roaming the Designer Collections floor—where you too can buy gold Maison Martin Margiela sneakers for $940 or a $315 Archer Adams umbrella—not a single salesperson on the floor approached me. I wasn’t shadowed or told about the lack of a layaway plan.

Deciding to take my nickels north to the Upper East Side, I hit Madison Avenue’s Ralph Lauren location––about 10 blocks from Barneys. Marble floors; mahogany walls adorned with various paintings of distinguished jockeys, prized racehorses and debutantes. Tony Bennett’s “Snowfall” adding light hues to the air of pretentiousness. This place felt more like a private club that I happened to crash than a designer fashion staple. Except nobody rushed over to shoo me out the door. While the store’s handful of patrons were being tended to from oversized plush chairs, I walked alone in empty rooms that housed $3000 pea coats and finely tailored suits that you’d probably see on Daniel Craig in the next Bond movie. Being virtually a ghost for over 15 minutes began to feel stifling, as if I didn’t belong. So I escorted myself out the backdoor as I entered in the front, unnoticed.

Walking through the Big Apple’s soggy jungle, I had too many questions from too large of a gamut: Why are these luxe brands still resistant to us as consumers? We’ve proven our market power to the effect of having our culture emulated for repackaging. It’s damn near 2014! But then my judging shifted to us. Why do we put ourselves through the strain of scrutiny and passive aggressive racism, just to buy Gucci loafers that will hurt our pockets? Wilson blames rap. “It’s the lack of social responsibility in popular hip-hop music and their constant feeding of consumerism to young people whose financial priorities are in the toilet because of it.”

While it’s too easy to oversimplify why a race that’s used to having less overextends itself to acquire excess, there’s no denying that hip-hop has played a major role in glorifying the purchase of popping tags. It was Harlem rapper Juelz Santana who Christian first saw rocking the Ferragamo belt in which ultimately lead to his seizure. Unhealthy messaging arrives when rap artists like A$AP Rocky (“And Versace, got a lot, but she may never wear it/But she save it so our babies will be flyer than their parents”) and 2 Chainz (“When I die, bury me inside the Gucci store”) push champagne living to a fan base dealing with Ramen Noodle realities. The result is a society of young African-Americans who’ve adopted a mantra of “fresh to death/head to toe until the day I rest.”

Ironic that the author of the aforementioned rap bar is Jay-Z, the one who came under fire for not severing his partnership with Barneys New York to exclusively sell his own collection of high-priced clothing and accessories. Still, after the profiling accusations, he conceded 100 percent of the collaboration sales to his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, which helps low-income students pay for college, there was an outcry in the black community. Even when Hov stuck to his guns, acquired a seat on Barneys’ board and offered a statement (“I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward.”), he put the kaibosh on a fundraiser event for his charity sponsored by his collaborator.

Conducting their own investigation in November, Barneys conveniently absolved themselves of any wrongdoing in the incidents involving Christian and Phillips and placed the blame on the NYPD for racial profiling practices. “If this report is to be believed, it raises more questions than it answers,” Reverend Al Sharpton told the New York Daily News in response to the retailer’s findings. “If they have given the NYPD the right to do what they want, and they’re racial profiling, then you have turned a blind eye to racial profiling.” In December, Sharpton and executives from Barneys, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and other luxury department stores created a “bill of rights” in order to protect shoppers and cease discrimination. Sadly, weeks later, yet another lawsuit was filed against Macy’s. Halim Sharif, 37, sought litigation for an incident in April where he was stopped after the $2,400 Louis Vuitton bag he purchased set off the alarm upon exiting. While stopped and questioned, he claims white customers left the Herald Square location also activating the alarm without being accosted. Sharif recorded the entire development on his cellphone.


The Monday after Thanksgiving I returned to 5th Avenue expecting different results. Would this be the day I find harassment, or for better or worst, mired in another racial profiling controversy? I visited Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Tiffany & Co., never able to completely rid myself of my inner-tension. But I noticed my awareness was at an all-time high. I was able to pay full attention to whatever attention was being paid to me. Though once again not a single salesperson approached me, I wasn’t nonexistent as I was in the Ralph Lauren store. Yet in each store, there were steady eyes, which remained on my every motion. The Macy’s employee informed that those stares belonged to the store’s undercover police. Those detectives––DTs as they’re affectionately called––don’t limit their proaction to just “looking for certain people.” In regards to his workplace he says, “They have a quota, they have to get a certain amount of people. Even if it’s not arrests, they’ll have somebody that they might be questioning.”

Is it a daily or a weekly quota?
I think it’s weekly.

What happens if they don’t fill it?
I think they get demoted or something like that.

Do they really pull someone over for the sake of filling a quota?
Yeah. For sure.

Before going back to his post, the Macy’s employee reveals that the ethnicity with the stickiest fingers at his flagship is, in fact, not African-Americans. “The Asians,” he says. “They steal and counterfeit. So storewide, I think there is a bit of racial profiling.”

“I don’t believe that people should be harassed, but I’m of the mindset that most of the time, it’s because some other black person did it before I showed up, and now they’re taking precaution,” Wilson asserts. “It’s sad because white people steal but it doesn’t effect them.”

After my final exploration to Manhattan’s high-end strip, I spent the succeeding days interrogating myself on what I had discovered. I set out to endure the emotional, psychological and racial fight that is SWB, expecting a similar experience to Trayon Christian, Kayla Phillips and Rob Brown’s. But I didn’t. Racial profiling is too hot of a button for a salesperson making upwards of 80K in this economy to risk touching today. So they don’t touch. They don’t hover. They don’t acknowledge. They barely look our way. That’s what security gets paid for anyway. Thus the black race remains unseen. So what I learned is this new attention on unjust shopping will make customer service worse for blacks before it gets better. When the white establishment can’t harass and profile us for thieving or carrying firearms, they do the opposite; they do what Ralph Ellison wrote over 60 years ago: they deny us “Of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids.” They make us African-Americans—men and women—invisible.

This wins meme of the night. All kinds of wrong. #Repost @reesereport #SuperBowlXLVIII

This wins meme of the night. All kinds of wrong. #Repost @reesereport #SuperBowlXLVIII