Lamar Odom, A Million Men Marching, and the Truth About Black Lives Mattering

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As many of you know, the Million Man March recently celebrated its 20th year anniversary, renamed “Justice or Else.” The celebration was actually…another march. In Washington. A revival, if you will. Although no official number has been released, speculation has it that thousands of Black men, women, and children (and others) attended the event. However, the march — which was more of a culminated celebration of black love and a cry for unity than just a march — received virtually zero attention from the media.

Seriously, none of the major news outlets carried any information pertaining to #JusticeOrElse. Now, I understand that in this post-racial American apocalypse, Black lives don’t really matter, but give me a break. Not one iota of coverage? Not even BET (who eagerly aired the BET Hip Hop awards)? Or MTV? What about VH1? These three stations have virtually redefined their legacy and successes on the blood, sweat, and tears of African American entertainment and they couldn’t even give 30 measly minutes of airtime to Justice or Else? Hell, let’s throw ESPN in the mix as well, just to spice things up a bit. These outlets generate millions of dollars, probably monthly, due to African America. Be it sports or music, if you turn on one of these four channels at any given time of day I guarantee you that a Black face will appear on your screen in less than 37 seconds of the button press. And I vigorously invite someone to prove me wrong on that.

For the most part, the only way information about the Million Man March/#JusticeOrElse even reached the masses that were unable to attend was through social media. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with images of the Million Man March anniversary gathering. It looked awesome.

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Meanwhile, while brothers and sisters were trying to work it out, ex-NBA all-star Lamar Odom was having his own celebration at a Las Vegas brothel. Following a reported drug and alcohol binge that last for 3-4 days, he was found face down in the room he rented, unconscious and unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital in a coma, and he is still in said condition right now.

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According to reports, his organs are failing, he’s had several strokes, and doctors can’t even get a true measurement of the extent of damage because of the existing damage they have to first sort through. It’s also important to point out that many — if not most — reports are unconfirmed, merely professional speculation.

This media frenzy reminds me of the Bobbi Kristina situation. So much ado about things we don’t know. For example, Lamar could already be dead, and TMZ wouldn’t want you to know because it could affect their ratings. Plus, spinning propaganda about dead Black men isn’t as profitable as dragging a barely breathing one through the mud. I see you, Harvey Levin.

Notice how much press Lamar Odom’s tragic story is getting. They have NEVER talked about him this much. Not even when he won his second championship with the Lakers. Now turn that coin over. The media mainstays that have been pumping you full of depressing L.O. updates are the same ones that had nothing to say about the march. Coincidence? Hell no…

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The older I get, the more cynical I become. I’ve honed that cynicism into a sledgehammer of optimistic pessimism, and I can no longer look at the world like I did when I didn’t know any better. The media (which is all controlled by 6 entities), seems to only report on the crime, the sickness, and the degradation of African American people, with no hesitation and no fucks given. Let us even attempt to publicly pull together for the collective betterment of the tribe and we become invisible. Why? Because a protest can easily be manipulated and reported on by the media as a riot. But a peaceful, educational, uplifting lovefest is clearly a little harder to color gray. It’s obviously easier to just ignore those things.

In the same vein, it shouldn’t take a celebrity’s slo-mo demise to highlight America’s unyielding obsession with substance abuse. Facebook was and has been flooded with Odomites sending prayers, well wishes, and cursing the demons that helped him get to this spot. Those same well-wishers probably have numerous relatives on Facebook with similar hardships that don’t receive half of the sympathy that their family members are expressing for a stranger. We worship idols and sob uncontrollably when they reveal the cracks and chinks in their armor, yet turn blind eyes to our own with the same problems. That, to me, is crazy.

So, as the world waits with baited breath on the next piece of Lamar Odom news, nothing much else has changed. Get well soon, L.O. God bless us all.

Words by Tony Grands

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2012: A Year We Can Believe In

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Is Big Meech The New Real Ricky Ross?

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“Stunt so hard, make ’em come indict me…”
-Rick Ross The Rapper ‘B.M.F.’

First off, let me say that I’m not convinced, for one second, that Rick Ross The Rapper & Young Jeezy really have beef, because I live in South Central Los Angeles. Born, rasied, & still here. Between experiencing old school, white knuckle, hands-on L.A. gangbanging, & this Hip Hop hybrid of too-old-for-that-shit rapbangers, I can tell the difference between hood-involved discrepancy & cats who happen to know the “right” people for the wrong reason. This situation between adult entertainers, on the other hand, seems to be a clear cut case of “Ay nigga, I was HERE, first!”

I find it odd that 2 artists in the same recording house would even be involved in the type of real-life frucus that could effortlessly extend beyond rap music. Really though, all this name-dropping amongst the civilian & criminal community could easily result in someone being killed. (Not that I’m an expert or anything, I just know A LOT of criminals & watch ‘Oz’ whenever I can.) I know with extreme, blood-related certainty that real drug dealers don’t fuck around, especially if they convince themselves that you’re interfering with their fiscal intake, which, to a person’s whose ambition is based soley around greed, isn’t a hard thing to do. See, a gangbanger does things out of ignorance, while the dope dealer does so what he does because he feels it’s necessary. Now, for the rap world to peep, we have 2 rappers from the same drug-dealing gang subliminally trying to prove to each other “who knows who.” Good grief.

Is that hilarious or what? Like when Young Jeezy got The Real Big Meech for ‘The Real Blowin’ Money Fast’ song, to expose the necessary amount of pimp-hand to Ross, as a taunt. That’s truly a page taken for the “That’s why niggas cain’t have shit!” handbook. Same thing goes for Nightstick Rick, except, in true 40 year-old hustler fashion, he got Meech’s moms to cosign him in the streets, where everything that’s really anything gets dealt with, anyway, as the youngsters used to say.

& that quickly, The Real Big Meech has replaced The Real Ricky Ross as the dope dealer to be for Halloween. I mean, don’t you just love the hypocrisy of democracy? Only in America is there an equal opportunity to praise the condemned & condemn the praised (I’ve been wanting to type that sentence, without seeming like a douchebag, for years. Mission acomplished?). & on a related note, my kids were singing ‘B.M.F.’ the other day, & when I told them who Big Meech, Larry Hoover, & the real Ricky Ross were, beyond being anonymous names in rap music, they stopped singing the song, & haven’t since. Well, not as much as before they knew what they did for a collective living, anyway.

Score 1 for the good guys, perhaps.

Rockwell Was Right

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^roffle mayo!….

The other day, some men came to replace the street light directly in front of my crib. The first thing I noticed was that they weren’t driving California vehicles, nor were they dressed in anything vaguely familiar, uniform-wise. In fact, whatever name the company had plastered across their machinery didn’t even sound real to me. I actually took a picture of the dudes, for illustrative purposes, but this was pre-5 o’clock bake, so I didn’t really have a point for a post yet, outside of showing y’all these people, in case they home-invaded me while I was typing. Obviously the latter didn’t happen, & I erased the picture out of post-5 o’clock bake boredom.

Later, I remembered that another group of contractors came & changed that bulb about a month ago. That’s odd. Especially given the fact that I’ve emptied at least 3 boxes of BB’s into that fucking old light bulb over the last decade or so, & not once had it shattered. Now, they’ve replaced the faux-glass dome with some Halogen contraption that I can’t even look at long enough to aim at. &, if that was “pothole” money that they spent on arbitrary lights that don’t do much else but suck on my tax dollars, I need to contact my congress person immediately. I’m serious. When the sun finally went down, along with my high, I noticed that for maybe 7-8 blocks in every direction, all the street lights had been replaced, & believe me when I say that maybe one, if any at all, were in real need of replacement or even repair.

Cats in the hood seem to be overly suspicious of life in general (self included…blame the weed), & things like this only further perpetuate whatever paranoid willynillyness that was there to begin with.

My homeboy said, “they watchin’ niggas.”

To which I replied, “& yet, we stay givin’ “them” somethin’ to watch…” Indeed.


^we’re taking pictures of each other…

One thing I’ve noticed about human nature is, as a single-minded organism, it’s easily distracted, no matter what. With enough shiny shit to preoccupy people’s cognitive skills, they wouldn’t know the truth if it tickled their taint, so to speak. All the Big Brother theory & One Nation hoopla could very well be completely true, like I’ve pointed out, but any so-called exposure would be nothing more than wolf-crying to Facebook martyrs & sacrificial Twitter lambs. (Or, “twidiots,” for short.) Really though, Freedom of Speech is dead already, even if it’s anonymous, digital speech. That’s a horrible look for the only species that truly has free will, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

& not for nothing, but I’m part of the problem, too. For example, in theory, there’s a better chance of me losing one of my kids (momentarily!) than there is of me losing my Blackberry. (Because kids run around & shit, but bugged, audio/video recording, homing devices containing pertinent information don’t.) If I’m aware of such a tether to the secular, I’m sure these organizations of world domination are, United States Gov’t included.

Contrary to popular belief, privacy is as important as speech, because if you Voltron both freedoms, & then take them away, next we’ll have a think tank telling us how feel. Fuck all that. Twice. With a weather-beaten broomstick. Now, I won’t go as far as to throw out anything that can watch me, watch it, but I got my eye on you motherfuckers. No pun intended.

Oh, & if you don’t what Rockwell (with help from the late, great Michael Joseph Jackson) was right about, check this out.