Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen people being very
demeaning or hostile toward African Americans, in regards to what culture we
have or who we are as a people, and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of people acting
like we as African Americans are nothing but “slaves”, I’m sick of people
acting like we’re “inferior to real Africans”, I’m sick of white people telling
us we have no culture while trying to take effort for what we’ve made for
ourselves. I’m sick of negativity toward African Americans by both the black
community, and white society.
So I just want to make a point that we as African Americans
have our own culture that no one else on this world has.
It’s a culture of hardships, struggle yet at the same time
triumph. It’s the culture of forging traditions and customs from ourselves from
what we have lost, and making that into something bigger than ourselves.
Our culture is music, hip hop, R&B, rap, blues, soul,
rock (yes rock), gospel, etc…etc… Our culture is dance, praise dance, hip hop
dance, street dance, etc…etc.. Our culture is the religion/faith we’ve made
that got us this far, it’s the food we eat that is only unique to us! It’s even the lingo/slang we use. It’s the way
we dress, wear our hair because that in itself is a political statement and a
testament to our culture. The natural hair movement started in the African
American community, that is ours.
All that I’ve listed above and MORE is ours, and if someone
tries to tell you that you don’t have a culture, then don’t fret because you
do. they’re just to ignorant to see it or understand it.
If someone tries to tell you that you don’t belong in their
culture, then don’t be upset, because you have your own culture that shows just
not how strong you are as a race, but as a person.
Don’t be ashamed of being African American. Don’t be ashamed
of not finding your roots, because you have
your roots, you know your roots and culture. It is the culture we as a
people have made for ourselves that shows our true testament of survival and no
one can take that away from us, no one can claim that, no one can claim that we
don’t have it because we do.
That is our culture, as African American people…don’t let
anyone tell you otherwise.
And this isn’t an attack on anyone, but it’s a way to uplift
African American people, especially African American women because we are
always trying to connect back to our roots. I just want all of us to know that
we, as a race do have a culture and we should be proud by how we’ve constructed
it! It isn’t slavery either, it’s what we’ve crafted from then to now.
Two decades after his death, Tupac Shakur is still the headline-generating, record-selling, contentious figure that he was in life. From DJ Funkmaster Flex’s recent tearful Tupac rant to the fresh diss tracks it generated in response, our obsession with the legend continues to grow. And it’s bigger than hip-hop. All Eyez On Me, Shakur’s long-awaited biopic, premieres June 16, a new Tupac documentary is also coming from director Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), and the USA Network has a fall series (Unsolved) in the works that dramatizes the unsolved murders of Shakur and friend-turned-foe the Notorious B.I.G.
In advance of All Eyez On Me, I wanted to talk to friend and investigative reporter Ben Westhoff. He spent five years researching Shakur and the many theories surrounding his death for his book about the heyday of West Coast gangsta rap, Original Gangstas, now out in paperback.
Clyde Stubblefield, the funk drummer whose work with James Brown made him one of the most sampled musicians in history, died Saturday morning in Madison, Wisc., his publicist confirmed. Stubblefield was 73; his publicist did not provide a cause of death.
For most of his career, Stubblefield was better known in sound than in name. He joined James Brown’s backing band in 1965, one of countless musicians on an ever-rotating roster. As he told NPR in 2015, the ensemble seemed to have more than enough drummers already when he showed up to audition. “I went on stage and there was five drum sets up there,” he explained. “And I’m going, ‘Wow, what do you need me for?’”
Still, his recordings with Brown managed to rise above the competition: Songs like “Cold Sweat,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black And I’m Proud” and “Mother Popcorn” are now revered as a gold standard for funk drumming. A generation later, he would have an even bigger impact on hip-hop, as the pattern he’d played on 1970’s “Funky Drummer” proved irresistible to producers. The track’s distinctive break, a sixteenth beat punctuated by deft, delicate snare hits, has been sampled on hundreds of songs. [Read More]
I want to write a fic for you one day and draw something in my style for you from your hip hop au.
AGSHJKFDASKJHDA ;KWAHAHAH WAHAHAHHAH OKAY!!! All is good…I’m calm…I’m all calm.. AGJSHGSJ WHAAHAH AHAHHAHA I’M NOT CALM!!!!! AMALAS DOWN!!! YOU WANNA DRAW OR WRITE FOR THE HIP HOP AU!?!!??!?! WAHAHAHAH!!!! OHH YES YES PLEASE!!! MY BABY!! MY AU!! YeS YES!! PLEASE!!!!!! OHHHHH this makes me incredible happy!! YES YES!!! Ohh please!!!!
It makes me so incredible happy when people wanna do something for the Hip Hop Au!! And it gets me incredible pumped to work on the Au again and update it!! YES YES YES!!! HIP HOP AU!!! Wahahahha I need something bigger to type in that caps!!! DO YOU HEAR ME SCREAM!!!!!!
I just started to admire Bryson Tiller enough to acknowledge him as one of my favorite R&B artists. I “slept on” him in modern language, but I am noticing how solid his songs are.
Last year, when his singles “Don’t” and “Exchange” burst onto the scene and acquired extensive air-play, I didn’t think that much of him. Maybe I considered him a one hit wonder or focused on bigger R&B and Hip-Hop acts but, after just discovering “Let Me Explain” and falling in love with “Teach Me a Lesson,” I finally perceived his talent. Also, seeing him publicly express his appreciation of black women by having his “Something Tells Me” music video feature African-American females from every part of the melanin rainbow made me admire him.
I understand now that he is an actual artist; he doesn’t prioritize Billboard Hot 100 positions and platinum plaques over genuine, genius music. Tiller explained that he loves ‘90s music, which I adore also, and that’s a reason why I am embracing his songs; they evoke '90s nostalgia, and I know R&B was at its peak during those years (and previous decades).
He reminds me of Omarion in regards to his musical style, and that is gratifying because I miss the sound of early 2000s music. Here is Tiller bringing back those sounds, and they are still cherished in an age where flip phones are now smartphones, R&B is less soul, and colorfully-dreaded trap-rappers are conquering Hip-Hop.
I am all for R&B expanding and elevating because it is my favorite genre, but old school vibes will always have a special place in my heart; thus, Bryson Tiller will have the piano key to it as long as he stays true to the genre he saluted.
As a young black kid who was a lifelong fan of cartoons, I learned early on that there was a pink elephant in the room that the large majority of the cartoons I watched. I never complained, but I couldn’t help but notice a dearth of characters that….looked like me. I would see the occasional black supporting character (Susie Carmichael) or black best friend (Gerald Johanssen), but cartoons with a focus on black protagonists or black families were novel. At the top of my head, the black cartoons I can remember from my childhood are The Proud Family, the short-lived C Bear and Jamal (don’t ask me how I remembered this!), the shorter-lived Waynehead (which I had never heard of until college), Bebe’s Kids (which I was too young to catch in theaters at the time), and Hammerman (which is one of the worst cartoons of all time so who cares).
What If Only Black People Had Superpowers? Real Issues of Race Ground New Series
Some people say that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby patterned the plight and
persecution of the X-Men and mutantkind to the struggles
African-Americans have – and continue – to face in America. But what if
someone cut through the metaphor?
A new series titled Black explores the science fiction
superhero paradigm and delves headlong into issues of race and also
simply being an everyday person. Created by former DC editor Kwanza
Osajyefo and artist/designer Tim Smith III, Black will be a six-issue series beginning later this year illustrated by Jamal Igle with covers by Khary Randolph.
The quartet of comic pros are currently raising capital to produce Black on Kickstarter, and with two weeks still remaining they’ve already surpassed their $29,999 goal – and in fact, have almost doubled it.
Newsarama spoke with all four individuals about this series, going from
the high concept to the core characters of Kareem, Juncture and the
Nrama: Guys, what can you tell us about Black?
Kwanza Osajyefo: I think the logline on our Kickstarter sums it up — what if only Black people had superpowers?
I asked myself that question over 10 years ago, but in pursuing my editorial career, I had to put that idea aside.
It is a question has a lot of implications. I think that’s why Black has
had such an overwhelming response. The sci-fi superheroics are there
and outcast trope is there, but everything is grounded in the very real
issue of race that humanity struggles with.
Nrama: So in this world, only black people are
superheroes – is that in terms of superpowers, or even broader in terms
of non-powered superheroes like Batman not being permitted to exist?
Osajyefo: See, implications! You’re already working to grasp in your mind how the concept would play out.
I consider Black sci-fi before superhero. The capes
and tights are done to death in comics. That isn’t to say such
characters are off the table, but I think this story is grounded in a
reality where someone swinging around on a wire might seem odd.
But it is fiction, so anything is possible.
Khary Randolph: These are the questions that
ultimately drove me to jump on board. A good premise asks the question,
and we’re here to provide (hopefully) entertaining answers. It’s part of
the fun. How black does someone have to be to have superpowers? What if
you’re mixed? Does it matter if it comes from your father or your
mother’s side? We’ve all worked in other people’s universes for most of
our careers, so the opportunity to create a brand new fiction and new
set of rules is an intriguing prospect.
Nrama: In this I feel like it could be akin to some of
the resistance by a segment of sports fans who are white who expressed
anger, in the past and some today, of how African American athletes
dominate many major sports. Sports stars and superheroes aren’t too far
apart – but what are your real life touchstones you’re looking to as
influence for creating Black?
Osajyefo: That’s an interesting perspective, but I don’t know that it parallels. It’s easy to imagine Black as something one-dimensional – an us versus them idea. I mean that is a symptom of sports – tribalism, politics, etc. right?
The influence behind Black is that in real life Tamir
Rice, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and hundreds of other people are not
free to walk, stand, or live as they please without fear of persecution,
persecution, violence, and death because of the color of their skin.
That is real.
Meanwhile, we read comics about characters lamenting their fringe
status yet can take off their masks, not use their powers and walk
No one is pulling Wolverine over because he drives a nice car.
Randolph: I think like many people, I can identify
with being an outsider. I’m a black man from Boston who grew up liking
comic books, science fiction, and anime. I was born and raised in the
inner city yet I was bussed to the suburbs every day from 3rd grade
through high school. I know what it feels like to be different. It’s a
familiar thing to a lot of people, which is why so many people gravitate
to the concept of the X-Men in general. Our project just takes that to
the next level, the 2016 version. The best comic books to me were always
the ones that were fantastical, but still grounded in reality. And if
they make you stop and think or question things, they are that much
better for it.
Jamal Igle: For myself, I grew up in Flatbush,
Brooklyn during the 1980s and early 1990s. I grew up around gang
violence, police actions, the Korean grocery store boycotts, and the
Tawana Brawley case. I’ve been pulled aside by the police on a few
occasions for “fitting the profile” and subjected to pat downs. I lost
my best childhood friend to gun violence, a retribution killing that was
solved quickly but left a gaping hole in my life. So there are a lot of
elements that, from my own life, will shape my approach to Black.
Tim Smith III: “Black,” for me, is a way to answer
some questions I have wondered about from my childhood reading comics,
and then walking out my front door to come face-to-face with the reality
of my identity. I lived in an all-black “hood.” I saw stuff kids should
not see. But it was the norm, it was life as I knew it. But reading
comics seemed to be this outlet where anything could happen, yet… I
still did not see a trace of what I thought was the norm compared to the
norm in the books. A book like Black can give me, as a
creator, the freedom to express another aspect of a world with another
possibility to what could be the norm in a non-normal setting.
Nrama: In the Kickstarter description, Black’s primary character is Kareem Jenkins. So who is Kareem, and what is his story?
Osajyefo: Kareem is an average Black kid growing up in
a poor area of New York City. He’s not a bad kid, but growing up in his
environment has exposed him to certain things that have significant
impact on his character.
When he survives being gunned down by police, his life very much
changes. The knowledge that only Blacks have superpowers and why it’s
been suppressed from public knowledge weighs heavily on him.
He and other characters make choices that might not be black or white.
Nrama: There’s other characters listed on the
Kickstarter – Juncture, Theodore Mann, Agent Adams, Agent Washington,
and O. Can you tell us about the other major characters in this series?
Smith: I am going to let Kwanza speak on this one. But I’ll say that I love drawing and creating all the characters in Black! Each have such a unique feel and play their own role in the pages you will read.
Osajyefo: Juncture is head of a global organization
that acts as a sort of underground railroad for Blacks with superpowers.
Governments of the world all keep an eye out for any expression of
powers so they can secure the individual(s) before anyone knows. Some
governments experiment on them, others use them for covert ops, others
just kill them. Juncture saves them, trains them, and tries to keep the
peace because only a small fraction of Black people have powers. Yet the
fear of only one group of people expressing powers would likely spark
conflict across the planet.
Adams and Washington work for the U.S. government to capture
empowered Blacks and as liaisons to Theodore Mann, head of a billion
dollar mega-company on contract with the FBI, U.S. military, and CIA.
His company is a family business that has benefitted from
empowered Blacks for centuries – trying to understand, dissect, and
replicate the phenomenon.
O is a mystery. He’s a terrorist operating deep in the shadows,
toppling governments and taking a far more extreme approach than
Nrama: Several of you have worked, or are working at
comic book publishers, and have done creator-owned work in the past.
What led you to pursue this as a Kickstarter project?
Osajyefo: I felt it was time and reached out to some talented colleagues I made over my years at Marvel and DC.
Randolph: I believed in Kwanza’s vision, to put it plainly. He’s a smart dude and knows how to sell an idea. [Laughs]
Plus, with age comes an increasing need to do things that matter. This
isn’t the kind of story you could tell at a major publisher. So instead
of complaining about the status quo, I’ve always believed that actions
speak louder than words. This book won’t change the world but the idea
of being a part of something bigger than yourself was powerful and
important. In hip-hop terms, “we do this for the culture.”
Igle: Kickstarters allow you to retain control over
the project and make it easier from a financial standpoint to do a level
of work that you feel comfortable with.
Smith: Kickstarter is a dream come true for a creator.
I can work freely and directly with my audience. This will allow us to
bring something that is from the heart, something we will stand behind
Nrama: Have you begun work on the actual book itself? If so, how far along are you?
Osajyefo: The characters are designed, the story is
plotted – I would say, in the “Marvel way” in scripts. Very loose so I
can collaborate with Jamal on pacing and plot points.
Nrama: How did the four of you connect first, and then come together for this project specifically?
Randolph: All black people comics know each other. [Laughs] I’m joking. Sort of.
But naw, these are people I’ve known for years and have tremendous
respect for. And at the end of the day you want to do good work with
good people. Kwanza and I have specifically talked about working
together for years. Now seemed as good a time as any.
Igle: Khary and I have known each other for years, his
studio is about a block from my house. I met Tim years ago at a
convention and Kwanza and I worked together when he was my editor on Smallville for DC Digital.
Smith: I met Khary at a comic convention. I stopped
and looked at his work as it caught my eye instantly. I don’t even think
we introduced ourselves. Just me looking on as a fan. As time went by
we would get to know each other more from the comic cons. I met Jamal at
a show years ago. I loved his work and knew it from buying it in the
stores! When I saw him at a table drawing, I was so excited to put a
face to the art I had admired for so long. I even showed him my
portfolio. He was so nice and professional. I made sure to talk to him
as much as I could every chance I got. I have known Kwanza for years
also! Doing work in the comic industry together made us grow as friends
Osajyefo: I reached out to Tim a long time ago and we
sat on this. Once I put my mind to actually producing this, I approached
Jamal. Working with him at DC, he blew me away with his speed, detail,
and storytelling skills. Jamal’s thumbnails are better than a lot of
people’s finished pencils.
Khary… I’ve just always been a huge fan. His work has so much kinetic
energy that I had to have him do covers. Thankfully he liked the concept
and jumped right on. The result is that first piece we’ve been