Deaf ears, and blind eyes makes one complicit.

It was ’92 when the riots jumped off, they had a National Guard troop on every corner.

That was when I first became interested in the military.

That and the fact that I needed money so I enlisted in the Navy.

I was in the middle of the nothing serving my country when September 11th happened,

it was as if I was being attacked.

I reenlisted and since we were undermanned I was promoted to officer quickly,

but millions have been killed, markets have collapsed, countries have been occupied,

everybody is scared, and we have launched attacks into several other countries

to kill one 6’4″ diabetic Arabic man who was in a cave somewhere.

He always seems to have a charged video camera.

You know how many Americans after the attacks happened went about their business

and just had A Bowl of Corn Flakes?

Join MG Hardie’s fan page

For more poetry pick up It Ain’t Just the Size, now on Kindle and Pc for only  .99

A response to Dr. Boyce Watkins

I was disheartened by the recent passing of Nathaniel Hale, affectionately called “Nate Dogg”, on March 15, 2011.  The morning after his death I read ‘The Death of Nate Dogg is the End of a Very Dark and Creative Era’ an article by Dr. Boyce Watkins. This article suggests that Nate Dogg’s death was in part due to smoking marijuana. Over the last few years there has been a noticeable push to legalized marijuana, but not because gangsta rappers are smoking it, singing about it and not because minorities are smoking it, the force behind this push is middle class soccer moms and affluent whites that are smoking it. Whites who don’t want to have to hide, or get to it from dealers in an alley somewhere. Whites who see marijuana as a business model and cash crop. If smoking weed is what did Nate Dogg in you had better watch those pilots, teachers, business people, bus drivers and grandma. Nate Dogg’s death was not due to his affinity for the leafy green, but more due to his affinity for Soul Food and lack of exercise, just ask the people who know.

Inner-city Los Angeles of the 80’s and 90’s was the most violent place in America to live, but when VIP records had a studio and he was there fighting for studio time, we were there. When Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg and Warren G formed the group “213”, we were there. When made his debut on Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ album in 1992, we were there. When his distinctive crooning helped Long Beach explode to a national audience, we were there. When he sung “Summertime in the LBC” we were there. When SWAT was called to his baby momma’s house, only to see Nate Dogg running and stumbling across the lawn with his child… while LAPD officers laughed on television, we were there too. When he dropped lines like “Smoke Weed Every Day”, “Indosmoke”, “Are You High Yet?” and “If you smoke like I smoke, then your high, like every day”, we were there. Yes, Nate Dogg’s songs were filled with smoking marijuana. Many of us could see that the end was near for the big homie due to strokes in 2007 and 2008, yet I still couldn’t help feeling some kind of way about his death. Nate Dogg’s hooks stood above all others in the game, his voice was the emotive side of West Coast Hip Hop and he never really got the ‘props’ he deserved.

Dr. Boyce also said “gangster rap is almost never positive, educational, empowered, politically active or otherwise productive”, this statement I see as problematic. When Gansta rap, put inner-city law enforcement on trial, and introduced itself to the word with this line from NWA’s Ice Cube “Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground. A young nigga’s got it bad because I’m brown.” , there was no more educational, empowered, or politically active statement than that. Is there a criminal element to the music? Yes, and that is why some have refused to listen, yet they listen to the Washington elect who happen to be robbing them every day. I respect Dr. Boyce immensely and I agree that “Gansta” rap, after corporations took over, became less the voice of the streets and a shadow of the power it has once demonstrated. Dr. Boyce it all comes down to perspective whether the negativity comes from a lyric or a Senate bill that claims to be for education, but cuts after school programs and school funding. It is true that Nathaniel Hale could have been doing something else, and you can say the same thing to each all the corrupt congressperson. Violence exists in films and books, but I have never seen anyone condemning Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron , Stephen King or Stephanie Meyers. What I see is the masses rewarding Charlie ‘7 gram rock” Sheen’s drug usage with more money and prominence. What I see is network television shows rooting for the Lohans, Kardashians,Spears, Aguileras and Downey jr.’s of the world to get back on top after bad behavior, and I see people of color with similar transgressions being vilified, that is what society is embracing. Perhaps it is the perception that Gangsta rap is bad because it’s predominately Black. Case in point, Eminem is the most violent, misogynistic, homophobic, foul-mouthed gangsta rappers on the planet, but he gets 2 nationally televised commercials during the Superbowl and a ’60 minutes’ prime time special.

Today hip hop has blessed us with studio thugs and paper gangsters who rap about little more than partying, drinking and promiscuity, because the shooting deaths of Tupac and Biggie, showed Americans just how real thug life was. The realism of hip hop has been replaced by profit while underground music never gets heard on the radio. For all it’s relevance social realism and hard truth has a limited audience.  Dr. Boyce, Nate Dogg’s music was many things but it spoke to those of us who knew that “Brenda Had a Baby”  and nodded our heads to “Hail Mary” while quietly wondering if there was a “Gangsta’s Paradise” or if  “Heaven had a Ghetto”. He spoke to those of us who knew “Murder Was the Case” and that “911 is a joke”. His music resonated with many of us who lived at “Tha Crossroads” and knew that “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”. His music became the theme song for the hustlers who knew “That if You Stay Ready” you don’t have to get ready, because sometimes at “Six in the Morning” the police are at your door.  He conversed with the trouble youth who wanted to be “Paid in Full” because he knew all about “C.R.E.A.M” and  “How I Could Just Kill a Man”, when your “Mind is Playin’ Tricks on Me” or when you’re “Insane in the Brain”.  Yes, his music even spoke to those who never wrote a letter to “Stan”,  hit “Rock Bottom”, or ran “8 Mile”s. he spoke to those that heard “The Message” and cried “Gangsta Tears” because they only had “One Mic”.  Nate Dogg knew that “Life is… Too Short” and though he has gone on to “The Next Episode” his impact, his music lives on within those of us who know, because we were there.

Rest In Peace Nate Dogg

 

MG Hardie

I have always been a big fan of Erykah Badu. She has in many ways shown the triumph of the uncompromising black female artist. At times she, through her music, has gotten personal, emotional, philosophical, and I love the way she is not afraid to show that she is political. Often, through her level consciousness, she has had the ability to bridge the gender and age gap and have everyone singing her catchy songs. She is unique from her organic sound to her style of dress both of which show her constant groove. Badu’s latest album ‘New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) has recently come out. I am sure that this album will be more of what we have come to expect from Erykah Badu, not over processed, personal, ambient even soulful, but the album is not what this article is about.

This article is about the video “Window Seat” Badu’s new video for her first single. If you haven’t seen it, basically Erykah Badu walks down a Texas street and strips buck naked in front of everybody and lies down near where JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

This is a powerful video that does with actions that her previous videos did with words and color and it stands in stark contrast to them and most videos out there. Now there will be many who won’t see the point of the video. And I won’t give you the point either, because it obviously wasn’t for you. And I appreciate the point and thusly salute Erykah for making it and I must say that Erykah has an amazing backside, but I digress.

Books that are changing everything

Is this really what entertainment has come to? Taking off all of your clothes just to make a point?

Dressing like a cartoon character to be heard?

Making yourself a pop-culture gender bender to become popular?

The answer sadly is yes. With the death of MTV entertainers have been getting more and more outrageous in this say or do anything business and all of it is about as real as a three dollar bill.

Did Erykah have a valid point to make? Could that point have been made without bearing it all in public? Is this really artist integrity? or a calculated risk over reward scenario?

Those are the same questions I asked when I saw a naked Serena Williams on the cover of last year’s ESPN Magazine, especially when I looked through the magazine and found no naked men, not that I was looking for naked men mind you.

Did either of these ladies have to go that far, probably not, but if they hadn’t we wouldn’t be talking about them right now. Let’s be real here, the “mainstream” is not checking for Badu. They are only interested in women of color when there is some kind of controversy. It does speaks volumes that a woman has to take off her clothes to be a viable artist these days and a man has to put on his to be successful. Personally I like Erykah’s counter culture attitude, but it isn’t cutting edge for her to go on television shows with her hair half-done.

How do a real artists compete with these manufactured pop-culture products? How do real musicians stand out in a time-period where the mediocre can go quadruple platinum? The answer isn’t an easy one, but it does depend on where we get our music from and whether the masses really wants to hear real music from real people, or packaged music from created products.  Two weeks ago I recently attended a small event in Long Beach of less than 50 people and the music I was given the privileged to hear there was better than all of the concerts I have been to. It was free, but I would have paid for the experience, you see where I am going with this.

Shocking videos, outrageous dress, and nakedness are not new to the industry, whether it was Elton John with his flamboyance, Prince and his innuendo, D’Angelo and Madonna with their boldness and others who were considered cutting edge with these types of statements. Not only were they out there, most of the time they were out there alone. Those artist never felt that they had to do something that wasn’t them to compete, or more shocking than what someone else did, they weren’t in the same market, but today’s markets are blended. Today we have a country star who isn’t from the country, Rappers rapping country, pop kids rapping, rappers on pop songs, R & B songs that are pop, and the blends go on and on. It is both a testament to the national oblivion and sort of  funny when you hear someone say that they don’t like rap, but the songs they listen to are actually rap.

These industries will feed us this type of empty fair until, or if we get fed up and complain loud enough and just like the media is moving the public from Health Care to Jobs, and Immigration the music industry will create something else for The Mob to follow. Did Erykah Badu have to go to such length to be heard, well we are talking about her now aren’t we? One thing is certain, it is no longer about the music and as long as the public continues to celebrate idiocy, promiscuity, those who will say whatever, do whatever, or those take off their clothes and pass it off as a form of expression I dare say that we should expect no less than the same kind of behavior from our citizenry, so Pack Light.

Answer: Host an authors’ festival. These legendary, award winning and noted authors will be part of Long Beach Public Library’s celebration of national library month. The Mayor of Long Beach, Mr. Bob Foster, will proclaim April 4, 2009 as Black Authors’ Festival Day. The proclamation will be presented during The Black Authors’ Festival in Long Beach. This historic festival is sponsored by award winning authors Sunny Nash and Aaron L. Day. This proclamation illuminates the efforts of great black authors and their contributions to the world of literature which are broad, vital, and significant.

 

The proclamation by the Mayor’s Office will only be one piece of the festival. The accomplishments, and contributions to the world of literature, by Dr. Maya Angelou, and Professor John Hope Franklin, will be honored at this first event. “Black writings and expression need to be recognized because of what it has accomplished. This is an historical moment that is larger than an idea, a philosophy, or one single person” said author MG Hardie, who initiated the proclamation.

 

The Long Beach Black Authors’ Festival will deliver an exciting day full of substantive and lively interactions with outstanding writers of all genres. These events is free to the public and allows attendees and fans the opportunity to engage with a wide array or authors, have their books signed, ask questions, and learn more about the writing and publishing process. http://www.lbpl.org/location/main_library

 

Scheduled to appear:

Autrilla Watkins Scott – ‘Stories From The Past’ and the first Long Beach African American to have a street named in her honor and Bill Clinton’s babysitter.

Doris Topsy-Elvord‘No Mountain High Enough’ and the first African American woman to be elected to the Long Beach City Council; the first female Long Beach Vice Mayor. (978-0943233987)

Bobbie Smith ‘Breaking Through, Lighting The Way‘ (Carolyn Smith Watts) a book celebrating women a collection of historical profiles of twelve African American women who have made a difference by being firsts in their fields.

Marie Treadwell- ‘Untold Legacies’ the pictorial history of Long Beach 1900-2000 and beyond.

Karen HarperMary Dell Butler-Making a Difference‘ and author of many noted romantic suspense, mystery novels.

Evelyn Knight‘Freedom & Sacrifice’

Phyllis VenableThe Heritage of African Americans In Long Beach’

Aaron L. Day – ‘History Lessons’. Aaron L. Day’s books have included genealogy/reference guides, essays, poems, and short stories about ethical questions, moral dilemmas, history, and special people. (978-0741424433)

 

Ernest McBride, Jr. – ‘Fighting For The People will explore the civil rights leader’s personal, professional and political life of a civil rights pioneer.

 

Anthony Parnell– ‘The 7 Laws of Stress Management/ Healing Through Writing’ has introduced concepts centered on writing as a tool for facilitating personal and organizational growth with solution-oriented philosophy for addressing complex problems. (978-0595456604, 978-0595346424)

 

Rufus Butler – ‘Black Energy’ author and creator of ground breaking entertaining books for children of all ages such as, Gallop and Swing!

 

Naomi Rainey‘Family Tree/Love Peace & Harmony,’ (Otis G. Sanders).

 

Darick J. Simpson‘Who Will Be There’ This artist mixes spoken word with a smooth jazz flavor on the subject of unconditional love in relationships of all kind.

MG Hardie – ‘EveryDay Life’ the raw, terribly smart, humorous, political hip hop book. (978-1605940366)  

Lacey C. Clark – ‘Celebrate HER Now!An Interactive Guide to Loving Ourselves and Embracing Female Youth of the Hip-Hop Generation. (978-1-4116-8591-8)

 

Stephanie Butler‘My Body Is The Temple: Encounters and Revelations of Sacred Dance & Artistry‘ specializes in teaching on the spiritual disciplines, principles, and techniques of liturgical and prophetic dance, biblical dream interpretation, and spiritual warfare in a radically unique way. (978-1591601203)

Paul Craft – ‘Christ Second Baptist Church: Centennial Yearbook 

Barnes & Noble– ‘Bigmamma Didn’t Shop At Woolworths’

 

This historic festival will be held in the auditorium lobby with book signing from 12-4 p.m. with a program from 1-230 p.m. The Long Beach authors’ festival will truly have something for everyone featuring autobiographies, children’s books, empowerment, history books, inspirational a play, pictorials, self-help, spoken word, success stories and urban titles.

http://www.eyethinkinc.com

http://www.banksday.com

http://www.karenharperauthor.com

http://www.longbeachblackhistory.sunnynash.com/Fightingforthepeople.html

http://breakingthrough.sunnynash.com

http://breakingthrough.sunnynash.com/doristopsyelvord.html

http://www.newthoughtmanagement.com/index.html

http://www.mghardie.com

http://www.teen-girl-self-esteem.com/about-sisters-sanctuary.html

http://www.stephaniebutler.com/index.html

 

For more information contact Long Beach Public Library  (562) 570-7500

For more information:

Contact: Co-Presenter, Aaron L. Day (562) 634-6708 or email: adaydec@aol.com

Contact: Co-Presenter, Sunny Nash (562) 951-9309 or email: snash@earthlink.net

 

 

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Here is an article in the District Magazine about The World Famous VIP Records in Long Beach California. You know the record store in Snoop Dogg’s video “Who Am I” from the Doggystyle album…yeah that one. Well anyway if you are near The Beach you need to visit this piece of Hip Hop History and I am not just saying that because they carry my book, or that some of the homies were in the video that was shot in the VIP parking.

The owner Kelvin Anderson has helped so many youth not to mention that he one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, VIP Records has has been around 30 years. I mean Snoop, Radio, Daz, DJ Quik, Nate Dogg, Warren G and many other west coast rappers honed their skillz in VIP’s records studio.Without VIP many of our favorite hip hop artist would have been in the streets doing all kinds of dirty instead of making us bounce. VIP’s influence was at the forefront of West Coast rap’s introduction to the world. You remember those days, don’t you?
At the crossroads

The Video: