Needless to say, I’m really diggin’ these. Nike is releasing this package in honor of the World Basketball Festival being held in New York & they couldn’t have chosen a more fitting shoe to embody the city. Each sneaker represents an individual borough and will be available in each borough exclusively.
Pharrell is back with another dope collab with world-renowned motorcycle manufacturers Harley-Davidson. I’ve been a fan of Skateboard P for a minute & to see the different projects he’s worked on and the new things he’s pulling out of the bag, it’s really inspiring. Peep the vid.
I’ve met Blasphumis a few times at some shows around the city & he’s a pretty cool cat so I decided to give his music a listen. Truthfully, I’ve been bumpin’ this tape all throughout the day. This is certified one of the most musically diverse projects I’ve heard from an underground artist. The title song “Smoke” is without a doubt the perfect way to start the album. It’s got an incredibly hard beat, and the first lines speak of him smokin’ a spliff in front of a church lol. Contradictory to what you might think the album is way more than just marijuana rap. He takes you on a lyrical journey touching on politics, spirituality, man/woman relations & a slew of other topics. At times, it’s hard to listen to music from some artists, underground or mainstream. This, on the other hand was a very well put together project, with a theme & an actual vibe that progressed throughout. This album is #CertifiedDope and definitely worth a listen.
What? Democracy is bullshit? Why would anyone say such a thing? Let me break it down to you why, in my humble opinion on why Democracy is bullshit.
1st of all, in order for me to outline exactly why Democracy is bullshit, we have to find out exactly what Democracy is. In the dictionary, Democracy is described as such…
–noun, plural -cies.
1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.
5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.
Ok, let’s break down the 1st part of that definition. It’s a government by the people, in which the supreme power is vested in the people. That part alone, in itself, is bullshit. The people didn’t start this government, it was just a bunch of rich colonists who didn’t feel like paying crazy taxes to the British Monarchy anymore so they got some guns, added all that talk about religious and personal freedom to make it sound good & then they revolted. Besides, how could they speak of religious & personal freedom when they took the religion & all forms of freedom from the slaves stolen from Africa? Secondly, there isn’t much power (politically) with the people because to get anything done locally or nationally there are so many different people to go through, vote for, send your complaints or suggestions to, so nothing ever really gets done. You’ve got county reps, regional reps, delegates, committee members, mayors, city council members, congressmen, senators, etc. The list could go on forever. All those appointed officials only end up putting the responsibility on the next man & when the shit hits the fan, they begin the finger pointing.
2. It says that Canada & The United States are two countries who practice Democracy. I can’t speak for Canada ’cause I’ve never lived there but, I know they do have free healthcare, the education’s better & it’s cleaner. I’m assuming that their democracy works. Besides, I’ve never really heard any of my Canadian friends complain about it so maybe we should take notes or migrate.
3 & 4 basically state that a Democracy is “a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.” Anyone who lives in the U.S. should whole-heartedly agree that this statement is complete bullshit. In order for us to officially be labeled a democracy we would ALL have to have formal equality, rights, and privileges. We all know that school funding, healthcare, jobs, education, proper food etc isn’t available to all people, so our political system has never been, and could never be equal.
5 says that a Democracy is “the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.”
If you are making a distinction between “common people” & the “privileged” and speaking of “political power” that is a clear contradiction. If there even is any power among the “common people” then their power would be common, while of course the upper classes political power would of course, come with a few “privileges”.
Basically, I said all of that to say this. Democracy in the most elemental sense is one of the worst political processes in existence. Not solely because of everything I outlined previously but, well, because of people & the politicians who put them in place. It’s bad enough that our political system takes so long to get anything done due to all the loopholes & people we have to send information and opinions to. What makes it worse is that the people who are supposed to be voicing their opinions, don’t even really know what their opinions are. Everyone’s cool with complaining about politics but, in most senses have no idea what they truly even want or how to have their needs met. Many people choose to complain without even attempting to educate themselves on the ins & outs of the political process, yet complain about everything.
So by now you might be asking yourself, what is my solution for all of this? Here’s one solution I considered. We could go back to being a Monarchy or just have a Dictatorship. You may be choking on whatever your eating or looking at the screen with the “WTF” face but, I’m completely serious. In the cases of Monarchies & Dictatorships, at least we know who to blame when things aren’t going as they should be. When disasters like Hurricane Katrina happened there was nothing but the pointing of fingers to the Mayor of New Orleans, then the Governor of Louisiana, then on up to FEMA officials, President Bush etc. That makes absolutely no sense. There are a million people on board to take care of one simple task such as sending rescue equipment, vehicles & of course food & water. Yet somehow, none of those people who’s job it was to take care of it did anything until it was ridiculously late. Why not have everything centralized, with one person. One person finds out what the people want and he makes the call to have the demands met. Simple as that. It saves us massive time that would have otherwise been wasted on complaining and finger pointing.
If we did away with all the pointless political positions that would save us mass amounts of money that could be spent on healthcare, education, infrastructure, science etc among other things.
Many people try to blame the president for why certain things aren’t going properly but in all honesty the President doesn’t really run anything. Like, at all. To put anything into place that he’d like to have done we have to vote for it, the he has to go through congress, the supreme court etc & by the time anything actually gets done and put into place that President probably isn’t even in office anymore due to checks & balances and other policies designed to slow everything down. Presidents are simply Mascots. Which is nothing but an icon for a certain team, company or brand. The term dictator sounds terrible but Cuba & China (especially China) are, in my perspective doing very well. Cuba has some of the best doctors, & schools in the world & their entire population is required to get an education, get a job which helps the country as a whole, or simply go to prison. It sounds harsh but that motivates people to not be lazy good-for-nothings and aspire to help themselves achieve their full potential. I don’t need to outline the positives of China, we see them clearly. They manufacture everything & not to mention, they pretty much own the entire United States, so really, who’s system is working?
The second option is for individuals to stop relying on the government & be responsible for themselves. We’ve all been fooled into thinking we have any power or presence in the political arena. We actually don’t. There is really no difference between Democrats & Republicans, people only think there is. Politics in this country, as it stands now, is 2 things. 1. A popularity contest & 2. to see who’s got the deepest pockets. One of the best ways to fool people is to give them options, which leads them to the false appearance of having a choice & control, while all the while knowing that the bigger forces will benefit from either choice they make. The media throws political candidates in our faces so we can get accustomed to them without even having any real idea where they even came from.
Basically, learn to be self-reliant. Make a decision to familiarize yourself with the world and how it’s run. When you do that you’ll realize that any power to get anything done is already in your hands. How do you think politicians got to where they are? They realized their own God-given power and utilized it. Sadly, most of them now abuse that power. Don’t wait for the government to feed, clothe, protect & educate you. Learn how to do it yourself.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther member & one of the most, if not the most well-known political prisoners of all time. I first learned of his story around 2005, when I first really started becoming what most people would label “Conscious”. His story struck me deep because he was an innocent revolutionary, simply fighting the the rights and fair treatment of his people, and he was framed for a murder & convicted for murder & sentenced to the death penalty. His life & continuous struggle are an inspiration to me and millions of others across the planet. That is why Mumia Abu-Jamal is a true Light Bringer.
Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook on April 24, 1954) is an American convicted and sentenced to death for the December 9, 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He has been described as “perhaps the best known Death-Row prisoner in the world”, and his sentence is one of the most debated today.
Before his arrest he was a member of the Black Panther Party, an activist, part-time cab driver, journalist, radio personality, news commentator and broadcaster.
Since his conviction, his case has received international attention and he has become a controversial cultural icon. Supporters and opponents disagree on the appropriateness of the death penalty, whether he is guilty, or whether he received a fair trial. During his imprisonment he has published several books and other commentaries, notably Live from Death Row.
Since 1995, Abu-Jamal, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections #AM8335, has been incarcerated at Pennsylvania’s SCI Greene, where most of the state’s capital case inmates are held. In 2008, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction, but ordered a new capital sentencing hearing over concerns that the jury was improperly instructed. Subsequently, the United States Supreme Court allowed his July 1982 conviction to stand, and ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision to rescind the death sentence.
Involvement with the Black Panthers
In his own writings, Abu-Jamal describes his adolescent experience of being “kicked … into the Black Panther Party” after suffering a beating from “white racists” and a policeman for his efforts to disrupt a George Wallace for President rally in 1968. The following year, at the age of 15, he helped form the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party, taking appointment, in his own words, as the chapter’s “Lieutenant of Information”, exercising a responsibility for authoring information and news communications. In one of the interviews he gave at the time he quoted Mao Zedong, saying that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. That same year, he dropped out of Benjamin Franklin High School and took up residence in the branch’s headquarters. He spent late 1969 in New York City and early 1970 in Oakland, living and working with BPP colleagues in those cities. He was a party member from May 1969 until October 1970 and was subject to Federal Bureau of Investigation COINTELPRO surveillance from then until about 1974.
Education and journalism career
After leaving the Panthers he returned to his old high school, but was suspended for distributing literature calling for “black revolutionary student power”. He also led unsuccessful protests to change the school name to Malcolm X High. After attaining his GED, he studied briefly at Goddard College in rural Vermont.
By 1975 he was pursuing a vocation in radio newscasting, first at Temple University’s WRTI and then at commercial enterprises. In 1975, he was employed at radio station WHAT and he became host of a weekly feature program of WCAU-FM in 1978. He was also employed for brief periods at radio station WPEN, and became active in the local chapter of the Marijuana Users Association of America. From 1979 he worked at WUHY public radio station until 1981 when he was asked to submit his resignation after a dispute about the requirements of objective focus in his presentation of news. As a radio journalist he earned the moniker “the voice of the voiceless” and was renowned for identifying with and giving exposure to the MOVE anarcho-primitivist commune in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village neighborhood, including reportage of the 1979–80 trial of certain of its members (the “MOVE Nine”) charged with the murder of police officer James Ramp. During his broadcasting career, his high-profile interviews included Julius Erving, Bob Marley, and Alex Haley. Abu-Jamal was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.
At the time of Daniel Faulkner’s murder, Abu-Jamal was working as a taxicab driver in Philadelphia two nights a week to supplement his income. He had been working part-time as a reporter for WDAS, then an African-American-oriented and minority-owned radio station.
On December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia, close to the intersection at 13th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia Police Department officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed during a traffic stop. The stopped vehicle belonged to William Cook, Abu-Jamal’s younger brother. Abu-Jamal’s own vehicle, a taxi, was parked across the street. During the incident, Abu-Jamal was wounded by a shot from Faulkner, collapsed on the sidewalk, and was apprehended by the police. He was taken directly from the scene of the shooting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. He was later charged with the first-degree murder of Daniel Faulkner.
The case went to trial in June 1982 in Philadelphia. Judge Albert F. Sabo initially agreed to Abu-Jamal’s request to represent himself, with criminal defense attorney Anthony Jackson acting as his legal advisor. During the first day of the trial this decision was reversed and Jackson was ordered to resume acting as Abu-Jamal’s sole advocate after the judge declared that Abu-Jamal was intentionally disruptive.
Prosecution case at trial
The prosecution presented four witnesses to the court. Robert Chobert, a cab driver, identified Abu-Jamal as the shooter. Cynthia White, a prostitute, testified that a man emerged from a nearby parking lot and shot Faulkner. Michael Scanlon, a motorist, testified that from two car lengths away, he saw a man, matching Abu-Jamal’s description, run across the street from a parking lot and shoot Faulkner. Albert Magilton, a pedestrian who did not see the actual murder, testified to witnessing Faulkner pull over Cook’s car. At the point of seeing Abu-Jamal start to cross the street toward them from the parking lot, Magilton turned away and lost sight of what happened next.
The prosecution also presented two witnesses who were present at the hospital after the altercation. Hospital security guard Priscilla Durham and Police Officer Garry Bell testified that Abu-Jamal confessed in the hospital by saying, “I shot the motherfucker, and I hope the motherfucker dies.”
A .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, belonging to Abu-Jamal, with five spent cartridges was retrieved at the scene. The shell casings and rifling characteristics of the weapon were consistent with bullet fragments taken from Faulkner’s body. Tests to confirm that Abu-Jamal had handled and fired the weapon were not performed: his struggle with arresting police at the scene would have compromised the forensic value of any such test.
Defense case at trial
The defense maintained that Abu-Jamal was innocent of the charges and that the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses was unreliable.
The defense presented nine character witnesses, including poet Sonia Sanchez, who testified that Abu-Jamal was “viewed by the black community as a creative, articulate, peaceful, genial man”. Another defense witness, Dessie Hightower, testified that he saw a man running along the street shortly after the shooting although he did not see the actual shooting itself. His testimony contributed to the development of a “running man theory”, based on the possibility that a “running man” may have been the actual shooter. Veronica Jones also testified for the defense, but she did not see anyone running. Other potential defense witnesses refused to appear in court. Abu-Jamal did not testify in his own defense. Nor did his brother, who said at the crime scene, “I ain’t got nothing to do with this.”
Verdict and sentence
The jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after three hours of deliberations.
In the sentencing phase of the trial, Abu-Jamal read to the jury from a prepared statement. He was then cross-examined about issues relevant to the assessment of his character by Joseph McGill, the prosecuting attorney. In his statement Abu-Jamal criticized his attorney as a “legal trained lawyer” who was imposed on him against his will and who “knew he was inadequate to the task and chose to follow the directions of this black-robed conspirator, [Judge] Albert Sabo, even if it meant ignoring my directions”. He claimed that his rights had been “deceitfully stolen” from him by Sabo, particularly focusing on the denial of his request to receive defense assistance from non-attorney John Africa and being prevented from proceeding pro se. He quoted remarks of John Africa and declared himself “innocent of these charges”.
Abu-Jamal was subsequently sentenced to death by the unanimous decision of the jury.
I’m currently doing photo shoots for $50 dollars. This is designed to give Models, Singers, MCs, Artists, Actors/Actresses, & everyone else the chance to have some professional quality pictures for your portfolios, headshots, Facebooks, Myspaces, Twitters, Tumblrs, & whatever else.
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This is some video art by Marco Brambilla titled “Civilization” which is an installation inside the elevators of The Standard, a hotel in New York City. Visually this is compelling, thought provoking, depressing, & yet inspiring all in one. I’m not sure exactly how a concept like this would come to someone, & how exactly they could make such an idea come to life. Either way, I consider this incredibly dope & beautiful & I think upon watching, everyone will walk away with their own personal impression.
Alkatraz is an MC I met almost a year ago & his flow and musicality grabbed me instantly. The fact that he’s a genuinely cool & humble brother made him not only one of my colleagues & partners in rhyme, but also a friend. The first song I heard from him is called “Get Lifted” which is still in heavy rotation on the iPod to this day.
This picture says volumes. I can already tell this video is going to have some dramatic visuals. A lot of my dashiki wearin’, khufi rockin’, incense burnin’ family might hate this but I’m loving that ignorantly gaudy chain hanging from his neck lol. Not simply because it’s iced out or whatever you’d like to say but the pendant itself is the Kemetic (Egyptian) God Heru (Horus, Hercules) who’s story actually inspired that of Jesus, Zoroaster and figures from many other religions. He’s commissioned Marco Brambilla a visual artist and film director to help bring his vision for “Power” to life.