Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nina Simone Doc: What Happened, Miss Simone?

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"How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?" -- Nina Simone

Watch "What Happened, Miss Simone?" on Netflix, beginning Friday, June 26.


Picked Some Strawberries

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There's nothing like fresh strawberries.
Makes your mouth water.
Gigi picked these.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

GOP on Charleston: "Accident and Indiscriminate"

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Sometimes it's just as plain as the nose on your face:

"It was reported that an anonymous bomb threat made to Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church, where black and white congregants sang "We Shall Overcome," was made from a telephone in the Charleston County Jail." (where Charleston shooter Dylann Roof and Michael Slager,  the former police officer accused of killing Walter Scott are held).

"Former Texas governor Rick Perry called the massacre an "accident," then later said he meant "incident"; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said Roof chose his victims "indiscriminately"; former Florida governor Jeb Bush said he didn't know whether Roof was motivated by racism; and Roof, who wore the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa on his coat and had a Confederate-flag license plate on his car, told investigators he wanted to start a race war."   -- Harper's Weekly


Friday, June 19, 2015

Native Rapper: Warpath

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There's nothing about this Drezus song and video that I do not like.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Celebrating Maya in Charlotte

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The Maya Angelou Stamp Dedication ceremony went superbly well and it was a joy and honor to witness and participate in the event. Dr. Esper Hayes, who organized the event along with Beatrice Cox, is doing great work as the founder and CEO of the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER). Her organization, which was organized in 1988, is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the collecting of stamps and philatelic material depicting people and events related to the African Diaspora.

It was a treat to pay tribute to Maya on the same roster as Dr. Hayes; Cox, Director of the North Carolina chapter of ESPER; City of Charlotte Mayor, Daniel Clodfelter; the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Praise Dancers; Postmaster of Charlotte, Le Gretta Roass-Rawlins; Dr. Paxton Hughes; and emcee for the event, WBTV News Anchor, Brigida Mack (who gave me one of the most fun and energetic introductions I think I've ever had).

As everyone spoke and performed, I was reminded of the sheer genius, gifts, and reach of Maya's thoughts and work. After all, she was a writer, dancer, singer, poet, actress, director, civil rights activist, professor, and mother. The work she accomplished in her lifetime is breathtaking and magnificently inspiring. Most people don't realize that she directed the moving film, Down in the Delta,, starring Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes.

Maya's legacy will influence generations and generations to come. She is the ancestor that she talks about in her work who speak to us, teach us, and direct us to higher ground.

Thank you Dr. Maya Angelou for your words, your work, and your love.

Here's the poem that I performed at the event. Maya wrote it for and read it at the Million Man March on October 16, 1995.

Million Man March Poem

The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.

Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach,
I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound,
You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I,
But unfortunately throughout history
You've worn a badge of shame.

I say, the night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark
And the walls have been steep.

But today, voices of old spirit sound
Speak to us in words profound,
Across the years, across the centuries,
Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another,
Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place,
The old ones remind us that slavery's chains
Have paid for our freedom again and again.

The night has been long,
The pit has been deep,
The night has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.

The hells we have lived through and live through still,
Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish
Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise,
And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.

I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground,
I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love,
I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference,
Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts,
Let us come together and revise our spirits,
Let us come together and cleanse our souls,
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge,
Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation,
Courtesy into our bedrooms,
Gentleness into our kitchen,
Care into our nursery.

The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain
We are a going-on people who will rise again.

And still we rise.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Maya Angelou Stamp Dedication in Charlotte

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To celebrate the unveiling of the Forever Maya Angelou stamp, three organizations, including the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER), will host a ceremony on Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3301 Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte, N.C.

Several speakers and performers will be featured, including Charlotte Mayor, Daniel Clodfelter; Charlotte Postmaster, Le Gretta Ross-Rawlins; Dr. Esper Hayes; WBTV News Reporter, Brigida Mack. I'm happy and honored to report that I will perform a Maya Angelou piece during the event, which is free and open to the public.

Did you know that in 1997, Maya Angelou and 11 other Black authors were honored on stamps in Uganda and Ghana? The stamps, created to promote world literacy, were designed by Seattle artist Gary Aagaard.

Ghanaian Great Writers stamps (1997)
Earlier this year, on March 4, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a Forever Stamp honoring Maya Angelou, the world renowned writer, professor, singer, director, and activist, who died last May. The First-Day-of-Issue stamp dedication ceremony was held on April 7 at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., with First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey as special guests.

For more information about the Maya Angelou stamp dedication ceremony in Charlotte, contact Beatrice A. Cox at beco43@aol.com, or 704-574-1064.

U.S. Forever Maya Angelou Stamp (2015)

Ugandan Great Writers stamps


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Can I Have a Dollar?

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(True story)

Last evening someone was pounding on my door like it was an emergency. I opened the blinds but didn't see anyone -- then I looked down. It was a little girl who must have been about 6 years old. When I opened the door she said with urgency, "Can I have a dollar?"

"Where's your momma?" I said.

"She's at work."

"Who's at home with you?"

"My sisters......can I have a dollar? I don't have any money and the ice cream truck is here."

"Oh.....OK... Will a dollar do it?"

"Yes."

"OK. Let me go get it."

I went to my purse, pulled out the dollar and handed it to her.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Z----"

"Nice to meet you Z----. My name is Ms. Alicia."

She waved and ran off to get her ice cream.


Friday, May 08, 2015

Earthy Anne: Rock Chariot, I Told You to Rock

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I'd rather listen to this than anything playing on the radio today. It's got more heart, rhythm, and just all around soul. Here's "Rock Chariot, I Told You to Rock," by Earthy Anne. You can't find music like this today. It's priceless and it's a part of our rich and cherished history. ""Wouldn't trade my shoes for your shoes.....wouldn't give you my wings for your wings.....wouldn't swop my grace for your grace....wouldn't give you my wings for your wings..... wouldn't trade my soul for your soul......"

Listen to the song here: Rock Chariot, I Told You to Rock