Monthly Archives: January 2012

‘AVOC': Kennesaw State | ‘Walter Rodney Symposium': Clark Atlanta

(From top to bottom)
“Discurs Sur La Colonialisme” – Aime Cesaire (1955)
“The Wretched of The Earth” – Frantz Fanon (1961)
“Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies” – Frances Foster, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Stanlie M. James (2009)

A quick synopsis of the bulk of what materials I’ve been covering in preparation for my speech at Kennesaw State University’s (Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., Tau Zeta) “A Voice Of Color” Oratorical Contest February 23rd and presentation March 23rd at Clark Atlanta University’s 9th annual Walter Rodney Symposium. My speeches are on the existence of pseudo freedom, and the nexus between theory and practice in the role of revolution.

(From top to bottom)
“In The Matter of Color: Race & The American Legal Process”- A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. (1980)
“Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era”  – Patricia Sullivan (1996)

These two texts play a large role in my speech for “A Voice Of Color”. The theme is to focus on the retrospect aspect of the trio of time, with the central question being: “Are we a people headed towards greatness, or a people headed towards destruction?” Though I find the question rather problematic and loaded, no doubt the above works will provide the historical analysis necessary for understanding where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going.

“Walter Rodney Speaks: The Making of An African Intellectual” – African World Press (1990)

 The above text is a collection of writings/conversations of Walter Rodney’s.

“How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” – Walter Rodney (1972)

 “How Europe” is The definitive work in regards to the dependency view of development theory. To think it was casual reading at one point in the mid 70’s. A large portion of my studies of Walter Rodney are based in this text.

I have a very tough load ahead, but so far so good. I’m about 60% through each of these Pray I get my point across!

Best,
Khalfani Lawson 

Nostalgic Moments | Jill Scott: “Love Rain” & “One Time”

. . . respectfully, with “One Time” featuring Eric Roberson.

“I know you were meant to be with me, part o’ my design. One Time”
– Eric Roberson

. . . and further, my personal favorite,  “Love Rain” (Coffee Shop Mix) featuring Mos Def (Yasiin Bey).

Her lips pursed as if her breath was too sweet and full for her mouth to hold. I said: You are the beautiful distress of mathematics. For you, I would peel open the clouds like new fruit, give you lightning and thunder as a dowry. I would make the sky shed all of it’s stars like rain. I would clasp the constellations across your waist, and they would be pleased to cover you. May I please, cover you.
– Yasiin Bey

Sit back, relax, and listen to this woman make each of these men a better person.

James Baldwin, Dick Gregory | “Baldwin’s Nigger” (1968)

“Baldwin’s Nigger” is a 1968 documentary on James Baldwin and Dick Gregory filmed by Horace Ové. One of my favorites, as it is an indictment on western philosophy and enlightenment. The two do a great job explaining civil rights and the history of the ‘American Negro’ in 1968, to a crowd that is largely of Caribbean descent in Great Britain. I’m a big fan of this sort of dialogue because nothing about the experience of people with African descent is linear, we can learn a lot from each-other. Pay attention to Dick Gregory’s portion in the last 10 minutes or so (36:00 – On), it’s one of the more potent sections in my opinion.

“It’s not a racial problem, it’s a problem of whether or not you’re willing to look at your life and be responsible for it and then begin to change it. That great western house I come from is one house. I am one of the children of that house, simply i’m the most despised child of that house.”

- James Baldwin, 1968

- – -

“White is not a color, it’s an attitude. Black is not a color, it’s an attitude. This whole thing we’re talking about is not about color, it’s about attitude.”

- Dick Gregory, 1968

Jennah Bell | Why You Should Be Listening

I’ve been sitting for the past week because of injury, which has afforded me the time to sit, reflect, and rework a lot of details of the daily rat race I participate in. What’s made this process incredibly permissive is the music I’ve had the blessing of coming across, most of which is from the likes of an artist fairly new to me: Jennah Bell

So, a majority of the recent content on UNI has been from a group of poets and performers,  The Strivers Row. Their most recent performance introduced me to her voice, which I’m in love with. Her message is abstract and simple all at once, while her deliverance is a pleasure to the ears, she express her sentiment in neither a whiny nor abrasive manner, only simple and sweet. Her appeals are clearly wholehearted and substantive.

. . . and of course, it doesn’t hurt that she is amazingly beautiful.


I purchased her latest compilation, Early Bird EP , which at five dollars is a solid purchase. I paid ten, but it’s worth at least 15. The album art is above, and as a complete work it’s a pretty clear and concise example of how talented she is and how she can portray her talent in a matter of a few songs. If you aren’t sold yet, please indulge in the video below. Once she’s smitten you on every dimension, check below for information on how to connect with her.

. . . . I told you. lol, salaam family.

- Khalfani Lawson

Jennah Bell
jennahbell.bandcamp.com
jennahbell.blogspot.com
twitter.com/jennahbellmusic

Retrospection x Introspection = Direction

“. . . That place i used to call home is just a bed to me”

I’ve found comfort in a place of solitary confinement (out in the open) and silence (as loud as possible).  The veil mostly consists of humor, which is necessary to add balance to a life of seriousness matters, but a life focused on humor as a means to  shield oneself from the matter at hand is an artificially perfected one at best. 

Man, living this way has taken it’s toll.

The motivation for this post is the field in which the price has been paid the most: Others.
Yep, other MF’s.

Alot of habits I had before recent successes, in regards to my work ethic and priorities, are a direct result of a large paradigm shift that occurred because of a long bout with being homeless, jobless, foodless, etc. Let it be known: Poverty will teach you some valuable lessons about yourself. These lessons I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) have lead me down a road of illusory silence, where i’m completely unable to tolerate alot of behavior from myself and especially others. Keep in mind, when I was incredibly broke/poor very few people were there for me, so my circle became very small. I lost weight physically and socially. What I did gain is insight, which in many ways just as 20/20 as hindsight.

In regards to relationships, I have yet to reach a place where I can say: “You know what, let’s do this. Why? Because.”
Family, the longest, most substantive relationship I’ve ever had with someone lasted almost 2 years on a random inquiry like that. Having been in a place where I could take someone on a date and to lose that privilege plus all means to do so in a matter of months is (was) traumatic. In alot of ways I still haven’t recovered, but . . . I’m getting there. I let go of the old a loooong time ago mashallah, but the bringing in the new has it’s difficulties. No rush though.

Essentially, I’ve been fucked by life (Retrospection).
In response I’ve created a very promising/skeptical/necessary lens (Introspection).
That lens has brought me success and comfort (Direction)

. . . I just pray I don’t end up like my father, and that I can successfully  transition from a place far and distant back to a place more intimate. I want to build, but like everything else on this road of recovery it is taking it’s sweet, glacial time. I’ll remain patient.

We all seem to stumble, planning our own demise
Forgetting the big picture and making it wallet size
So to what is important in my life, I apologize
I promise to stay faithful, focused and sanctified
We all get distracted
The question is would you bounce back or bounce backwards?
Would you not know how to act or take action? It’s just a part of life
And if your vision’s impaired, you probably lose it all tonight

Kendrick Lamar ft Jhene Aiko – Growing Apart (To Grow Closer)

Introspective Minds | The Tiger Blood EP

So. . . yep. This is dope. About four tracks in it reminded me of first time being in Death Valley. Download it ( HERE) please. I’ve never ever met the homie Winston Lord, but I know a couple of folks from Woodward Academy and Clemson University so on behalf of them, we appreciate the dopeness!

Dusky ORNG (Ft. D. Lord & AshB**ches)

Introspective Minds
twitter.com/introspectivemp
introspectiveminds.bandcamp.com

The Strivers Row | Joshua Bennet: Levi

Joshua Bennett, second from the right.

“They keep telling him to think like an assembly line,
But his mind is like the most extravagant circus,
all trapeze,
and lion teeth, drumbeat,
and riotous laughter that could shake the moon out of it’s skin,
every sentence a staccato hymn,
sung in the midst of a world that has forgotten how to value of silence . . .
When did the brain become an appliance?

- – – – 

“Don’t dare be an enigma, there is no space for your kind of ‘beautiful’ here.”

- – – -

“We have seen what happens when a mind goes unchained
We have built entire industries around keeping our modern day Michelangelo’s in check.
How many Children?
How many masterfully written lives must we have dashed into the ground before we call this a genocide on creativity?”

- – – -

. . . From the Deans List 3: Graduation. It’s somewhat  appalling to think that it would be possible to place a widely accepted lock on a facet of life as natural as ones own freedom.  Samuel A. Cartwright coined the term Drapetomania  in order to describe the mental illness in slaves who were looking for their freedom. Though it’s been a proven pseudoscience, who’s to say that society is no longer negligent to the individual? Who’s to say that we’ve moved a step closer to cultivating all denizens in a non exclusive manner? Joshua Bennett does a great job of asking these questions. I find that a lot of his poetry is well written, but what separates this poem from his previous poems is the passion you can see clearly in his delivery. This is a favorite of mine.

 

Joshua Bennett
twitter.com/SirJoshBennett

The Strivers Row
thestriversrow.com

facebok/thestriversrow.com
thestriversrow.tumblr.com
twitter.com/thestriversrow

Jasmine Mans, Alysia Harris, Jennah Bell: Waiting

Poems like this inspire boys to be men, and men to be better men. This artistic expression is from their most recent show “The Deans List 3″. Since I in fact made Deans List, I find it highly unfair that The Strivers Row have yet to come to Atlanta, GA. I love Jennah Bell’s voice and Jasmine Mans did her thing, as always. Congratulations to The Strivers Row and all participants on a job well done and a successful show.

Also, Alysia Harris: I know waiting is quite the pain, but i’ll be at Yale for the 17th Annual Black Solidarity Conference this February so yes . . . In the most sincere way possible I pray the wait is over soon, peace.

The Strivers Row
thestriversrow.com
twitter.com/thestriversrow
youtube.com/thestriversrow

Jasmine Mans
twitter.com/kingjasminemans
Alysia Harris
twitter.com/poppyinthewheat

Jennah Bell
jennahbell.blogspot.com