Friday, March 30, 2012

Watching Over Jeffrey

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For my dear cousin Jeffrey -- Rest in peace Jay:

Watching Over by Deniece Williams

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I Write: The Twin Poets at RiverRun Film Festival

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"I write for lil girls who must double dutch near bloodstains." -- from poem, Why I Write

Making Delaware proud are spoken word poets and community leaders, Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha, aka, The Twin Poets. Filmmaker Sharon Baker with Hearts and Minds Film thought enough of the twins' performance and community leadership talent to capture their story on film with Why I Write: The Twin Poets, a 60 minute documentary which will be featured at the RiverRun International Film Festival in April.

HBO's Def Poetry Jam featured The Twin Poets several years ago, as they presented probably their most well known piece, "Dreams Are Illegal in the Ghetto."

Presented as part of the festival's With Class series, Why I Write, chronicles the travels of Mills and Chukwuocha in their hometown neighborhoods in Wilmington, Del., including the Riverside Housing Projects, a symbol of some of the city's most decayed and troubled areas. The film shows the twins conducting poetry workhops with young people and encouraging them to use words on paper and in performance to overcome struggles, express and discover themselves, their talents, and dreams.

Why I Write must be a rarity in that it highlights the high crime rate and other sociological ills that are prevalent in parts of Wilmington that serve the drug traffic that flows heavily up and down the Mid-Atlantic corridor.

The RiverRun Film Festival will show Why I Write on April 20, 7 p.m. at the Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 North Spruce Street. Admission is free. The festival runs April 13-21 in Winston-Salem.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Christian Author Promotes Audacity to Believe

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If you’ve been knocked down by life and you’re searching for some motivation and spiritual rejuvenation, check out Your Wings Will Grow Back, a Christian motivational book, currently available online.

Christian Speaker and Life Coach, Justin Hegwood, the author of the book, has a knack for giving direct, inspiring, and wise advice in everyday language that’s sure to speak to large, diverse segments of the population.

The book, subtitled, The audacity to believe while feeling inadequate, hurt and rejected, is filled with an abundance of practical advice on how to ward off negative thoughts and pick yourself up after being hurt. The book encourages you to call on God’s help to set you on the path of purpose, joy, and love.

Hegwood’s book is a quick and pleasant read that surely will inspire you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, pray, discover what God has called you to do, and then to “do it all for God.”

Here’s an excerpt from Your Wings Will Grow Back:

Payday Is Coming

No matter what life throws at you, remember that God sees you and payday is coming. God will pay you back for everything you had to go through for Him. Let go of your worries. Take everything to God in prayer and He will make sure that there is justice and vindication for what you were taken through. You’re going to receive double the rewards for your trouble.

Release Your Brilliance

You can heal the world with the brilliance God built within you. Just open up so that people can see that you have what they’ve been looking for. Invest time in finding the places and people that need what you offer, then change the world.

Visit Hegwood’s Website to read the entire book.

Brown Baby, Walk Down the Freedom Road

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(For all the Brown Babies in the world.)

Brown Baby
by Oscar Brown, Jr. (Performed by Diana Ross)

Brown baby, brown baby,
As you grow up I want you to drink from the plenty cup.
I want you to stand up tall and proud.
I want you to speak up clear and loud.

Brown baby, brown baby, brown baby,
As years roll by,
I want you to go with your head held high.
I want you to live by the justice code.
I want you to walk down the freedom road.

Brown baby, now lie away,
Lie away sleeping,
Lie away here in my arms,
While your daddy and your momma protect you.
And keep you safe from harm.

Oh, brown baby, brown baby,
It makes me glad that you will have
Things I have never had.
When out of men's hearts all the hate is hurled,
You're going to live in a better world.
Brown baby.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Teaching Soul Culture at Duke University

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Duke University students have got it good. If they want to, they can take a course on soul music and learn how it influences contemporary cultural expression. The course, called Sampling Soul, sounds like a blast!

Winston-Salem’s own 9th Wonder, aka Patrick Douthit, a celebrated producer and former member of the Durham-based hip hop act, Little Brother, has taken his love for soul music, hip hop, and African-American culture and mixed it up into an academic offering that encourages students to consider how soul music has influenced American culture (and therefore, World culture) from the 1950s until now. The course also teaches students to appreciate the art of sampling and delves into some of the legal ramifications of sampling within the context of intellectual property law. (Should you really have to pay to sample Soul?)

African-American Studies professor, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, and 9th Wonder began educating students in the fall of 2011 about the influence soul and hip hop has had on the world, solidifying the historical importance of this cultural expression, and opening the minds of a diverse set of young minds.

"Educating the youth on where hip-hop comes from and the history of it, using the records we use, gives hip-hop a longer life. I decided to become an advocate of that," 9th Wonder told HitQuarters, an online music industry newsletter.

Imagine hearing and learning about the magic of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, and Denise LaSalle, then listening to how hip hop reawakened our interest in soul. Certainly during the class, 9th Wonder must also talk a bit about his producing jobs for artists like Mary J. Blige, Wale, Jay-Z, Drake, and Destiny's Child.

Go to Mark Anthony Neal’s blog NewBlackMan to get a more in-depth look at the course description, including the reading list, which includes The Death of Rhythm & Blues by Nelson George and the provocative, slanguage-rich, Five Days of Bleeding by Ricardo Cortez Cruz.

In 2010, independent filmmaker Kenneth Price documented 9th Wonder's travels for an entire year and released a documentary called The Wonder Year about the musician's excursions. Here’s a clip from the project:


Friday, March 02, 2012

Shutting My Mouth

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The older I get the more widsom I've gained regarding when to shut my mouth.