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Friday, November 26, 2010

Looking Forward

I spent this holiday with my family and it was great being with all my neices and nephews as well as being with all my sisters and my brothers. It has been three years since we all have been together. During this trip I realized two things: Family makes it all worth wild and the forward progression of life keeps us moving.

So with these two concepts in mind I say this; we have to keep steadily moving forward. While I love my family I cant be who anyone else wants me to be. Neither can they be anyone more than who they are. Often we forget that each individual person has their own lives to live. We each have different experiences and different things that shape and mold us. I am reminded of the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew Mark Luke & John) while they each walked with Jesus and they each saw the same things they each had a different prespective on the things they saw and how they were recorded.

My words to everyone is simply live your life for you. I am a poet and I love what I do and who I am. There was a time when I wasnt secure enough in myself that I couldnt be myself around my family or anyone else for that matter, but now at 34 I have realized that loving me is more important than pleasing others.

2010 has been a great year; I have met some great friends; had some great progress in my poetic career; met the love of my life also lost some that I thought were friends; and had some definite struggles, but all in all I cant complain. 2011 is going to bring even greater changes and progress. I know it wont be without some struggle and some pain but it will definitely reap some great rewards.

That is ultimately the essence of growth. Recognizing the past learning from it and continually moving forward into the future. We have become stagnant as a people and instead of living we exist. Time keeps on moving even if we dont. You dont want to wake up one day and be 60 years old and realize for 60 years you have done absolutely nothing in life but have sex & pay bills. Scorpio Blues said "Our existence is just dying to ensure that someone knew we were alive" but if you spend your entire existence not doing anything worth remembering then you have had a waisted existence.

Take this opportunity to start again if you have been stagnant. Its never too late to start new, to start again. A dream deffered is not a dream denied. Dreams can not be denied only forgotten or become dormant, but at any point you can breathe life into a dream again no matter how long its been or how old you are. It only takes drive ambition and passion. Stagnancy call be defeated by forward motion and progress.

I am not one for new years resolutions but I do have a resolution that everyone should adapt that in 2011 we should all have forward progression and battle stagnancy with hope progress and determination; but most of all SELF LOVE.

Resolved: Lyrical Toye is moving forward in her life remembering the past but leaving it behind me, while continuing to press toward the mark of the high calling. Only looking forward so I can see where I am going.
with experiential knowledge of the past.

Looking Forward.....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sanctity of Life

"Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood" That quote from Ice Cube's character Doughboy from Boyz N The Hood couldnt be anymore relevant then as it is now almost twenty years later. The major difference is that this time we can say this about the police that are killing us.

It is not a matter of black on black crime but a matter of being unjustly exterminated. What has happened to our community and society when we are so desensitized to death and police corruption that we are more concerned with who Lebron James is playing for or Lil Wayne's prison stent. Where was the justifiable national outrage in regards to the verdict over Oscar Grants death and a lack of true justice for him and his killer.

At no point is it ok that this young mans life is only worth two years but sadder than this verdict and sentencing is that Oscar Grants life seems to not even be worth ourtage. It's only important to those that knew Oscar. They knew his laugh, his touch, his mind, his anger, his love, his joy and treasured his life. Since when is the disregard for human life so overlooked?

I remember when Michael Vick was on trial for the dog fighting ring. People were outraged that dogs were killed. Peta was protesting and this man was ostricized publicly. I said then there are too many important things happening that the outrage over some dogs is completely out of perspective. When PEOPLE are dying every day. Why is a dog being killed more outrageous than our police exterminating us at their will. Walking away with slaps on the wrist.

How is drawing a weapon shooting some one in the back thats already subdued involuntary? I am not sure about anyone else but thats not involuntary to me. Nothing anyone can say no circumstances can change my thought on this. Its not involuntary!

"Scared now, ain't you? I like that. That's why I took this job. I hate little motherfuckers like you. Little niggers, you ain't shit! I could blow your head off with this Smith & Wesson and you couldn't do shit. Think you tough? What set you from? Look like one of them Crenshaw mafia motherfuckers." This quote from Boyz N The Hood came from a police officer. Now 19 years ago if this was the mindset of the police I can only imagine what they are saying and how they are feeling now.

Now I realize that this is a movie...but understand that Art often imitates life. These words feelings actions and situations are a direct reflection of the attitude of police officers. I think this is evident when you see the increasing number of murders at the hands of our police. So now twenty years later we are still trying to figure out why we are dying more rapidly at the hands of our police. Not just in one city but all over.

Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Ayana Jones, Kiwane Carrington, Tarika Wilson and countless others, laid to rest by our officers of the law. No one is concerned with the lives lost only about the supposed danger to the officers. How much danger does a woman with six children (one in her arms) pose to a police officer? How much danger does a man laying face down on the pavement pose to a police officer? Why are we not concerned with the lives of these people that are being taken needlessly. They live and love just like we do.

But I guess its more relevant to your lives who is beefing with who in the rap game, whats happening in sports, and reality tv. Who is sleeping with who and for how long. These are the important issues of today not fairness justice equality and respect for life.

My heart is burdened and saddened by how easily we as a people overlook or dismiss the sanctity of life these days. I sincerely pray those with blind eyes deaf ears or closed minds are never adversely affected by a senseless and forgotten murder at the hands of those hired to protect us. When the people we are supposed to trust to safeguard our lives are the very ones killing us who can we trust?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ballot VS Dollar

Recently in a conversation about politics I found myself defending the voting process in America. Now while I do believe that America is a country built with prejudices and that there are some wicked people running the country I also believe that it is your ballot that counts more than your dollar.

Does money make the world go round? ABSOLUTELY! While I know this fact I also believe in an unprecedented whole heartedness that our politicians can ONLY get a job if we give it to them. Thats why there are elections in the first place.

Now granted in 2000 George Busch stole an election. I know understand acknowledge and recognize this fact. In my opinion he was only able to do so because the PEOPLE werent outraged enough to cause or affect change. I remember closing down the precinct I was working at at the time and feeling really good about Al Gore's chances of winning. Then Fox News made the announcement that George Busch had won. Al Gore conceeded. This act I believe is what allowed Busch to win. Al Gore didnt  fight hard enough and neither did his supporters. I realize that Fox News had an agenda and for them it worked  perfectly.

This is my point Elected Officials can only get a job by being Elected. No matter how much money they spend to get the job. Its still number 1 a job and like any employer we should be looking at resume's to see how qualified a person is to hold that position. Number 2 if we as a collective speak how can they ignore us?

Truthism they cant kill us all. Truthism we are their employers. Truthism if we stand together they have no choice but to bend to our wills.

These are my truths. I heard someone say that there is NO ACTIVISM in us. I say the place to start is in casting Ballots in every election. Just think if everyone of legal age voted. What a difference we can make. Instead we spend so much time yelling our vote doesnt count. How the heck will you know if you never vote.

Even an issue that is very dear to my heart convicted felons that have had their civil rights stripped from them. Why shouldnt we have the right to vote when you take our taxes every paycheck. What we need are those that have access to the information we need to restore those voting rights but people are very judgemental and not likely to want to help those of us that would like to be an active part of society. Why do you think that is?

Could it be because if we were allowed to vote we could somehow make a difference? Wouldnt that punch a whole in the theory that our vote doesnt count? Of course it would. Thats what they want us to believe, that our vote doesnt count because they want us to not use our voice to not unite under a cause. My grandmother used to say "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince man he didnt exist". With that being said if we look at the corrupt nature of our governmental process tell me that the devil is not in it. Then reexamine and tell me that voting doesnt count.

As long as we are being trite about voting they never have to worry about your voice. Example we are all singing in a choir. Many voices what if everyone said my voice doesnt count and stopped singing. Those that understand how important they are to the collective will continue to sing and be heard but there will be holes in the sound. Then after the performance those that didnt sing want to complain about how awful it was and how they didnt sound fluid and cohesive and the voices werent strong. Well duh of course not YOU werent singing. So shut up and sit down.

I have no delusions about this country and how important monetary value is. I also remember there was a time when Black People & Women were not allowed to vote. There were many people that put it on the line to give us that right. So Why do we feel such disdain for the voting process. Since when did we turn over our voices to the very people we employ?

As an employer I am not going to turn over my controlling interest and vote to the employees. No CEO COO PRESIDENT OWNER of any company will. We must stop being passive aggressive. We must stop being living room revolutionaries. We must stop submitting our opportunity for change to the imaginary concept of money & power.

Those that run our government only have as much power as we give them. So why turn over your power? Why allow them to be our puppeters? I am not going to say the system is perfect but its only going to work IF WE MAKE IT!

Quote from V for Vendetta "His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives"

"People should not be afraid of their Governments, Governments should be afraid of their people."

I use these two quotes for one reason We the people of the United states, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. {Preamble to the Constitution}

It doesnt say we the GOVERNMENT it says WE THE PEOPLE! 

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. {The Declaration of Indepence} 

I pull these quotes from the historic documents that founded this country to say this...If you dont believe your vote counts...MAKE IT! Here is our law that gives you and every person in this country the RIGHT TO DO SO!

I close with one more quote "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

We have given our consent to those we employ either care enough to take it back or shut up about already. It is my mission to change it will you join me?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is it really HATING?

Normally I wouldnt waste my time giving any female rapper or artist the time of day. If I dont feel they have anything pertinent to say to me or mine I keep my opinions to myself. I can not support your music and not have to bash you at the same time. Now there are those that I will discuss in my own private conversations or on my show {} (I know its a shameless plug lol) but its my own opinion and usually try to do it with a level of class.

Recently I heard a piece by a young Poet named Jasmine Mans called Nicki Minaj. The beauty of this is piece is that a 19 year old young woman is holding the artist that she listens to accountable for her actions and image. I personally applaud this young woman for having the courage of conviction to speak on something she obviously feel passionate about.

I watched the piece (by Jasmine Mans) again today and took the time to read the comments posted in regards to her piece. While I was already aware of how negative people were being about the piece I did not realize the extent of the ignorance that was said in response to this brilliant piece. People have really taken serious offense to her words and jumped to defend Nicki Minaj. Really? This woman who is making all this money needs youtube frequenters to defend her honor against a 19 year old Poet? What does that say about Nicki?

How can the message possibly be many say she is a hater...but even if you take it from the stand point of a hater in order to have hate there must first be love...this young Poet is a fan of Nicki Minaj...hmmmmmm and is telling her to be accountable for herself...hmmmmmmmm since when did we lose the standard in our art...No one ever saw MC Lyte let the industry reduce her to T&A or Queen Latifah...These women were true MC's and have real love for the Art...KRS-ONE said you cant sell your lyrics cuz your lyrics are your to sell your lyrics IS to sell your soul.

So while I was reading the comments I kept seeing this name Keys. Now of course I am out of touch with mainstream and commercial hip hop so I was not familiar with Nicki Minaj's work outside of that one song "Bed Rock" where she says something about asbestos. So I looked up some of Nicki's work. I hate to be unfair and speak on things in ignorance. I sat listening to Nicki Minaj for about three hours. For a TRUE Hip Hopper that was torturous. I truly couldnt figure out the logic understanding or relevence for her lyrics but as a poet I am very concerned with content. I dont just listen for musical content.

While I appreciate that everyone has their own voice and I would not deny Nicki hers but I truly have grasped great understanding of the pertinence of Miss Mans piece. I was sorely disappointed with the blatant disrespect Nicki showed to female Hip Hop pioneers. Now far be it from me to take Lil Kim's side on anything cause that's a whole nother subject all together, but I was around when Kim first hit the scene and no one can say that she didnt represent well in the beginning. Her time with Junior Mafia she did her thing lyrically. Now mind you Im a poet, so Im listening for content. Alot of what Kim has done since the tragic death of Notorious Big has in my opinion fallen off, but thats not here nor there. The fact of the matter is that alot of what I have seen from Nicki Minaj Lil Kim did ten years ago. Then to turn around and dis Kim is mad disrespectful to me. If Kim had not been the Queen Bee there would be NO Nicki Minaj.

Its only courtesy to show respect to those that TRULY paved the way for you to be who you are even if it is a barbie or clone. Foxy Brown another who used mass sex appeal to sell her self or market herself. Especially at a time when Female MC's were trying so hard to gain respect, on the strength of their lyrical abilities and not the size of their bras. Foxy was not only a genuine beauty (no plastic surgery) she was a beast lyrically.

Now dont misunderstand this is not a Nicki Minaj dis. I will say for the record I havent heard anything by her that impresses me. I come from a generation of real Lyricist so I am interested in what you have to say not how you look and how little you are wearing.

So I checked out this young lady Keys. I rocks with her. She kept it raw and gritty. True it was a dis to Nicki no doubt or question but there was definite truth in her flow. Plus she had some ill qoutes. Honestly she smashed that joint and thats my opinion and its mine to have and share. Keys definitely put it to Nicki in a real street lyricist way. The one quote that stands out the most to me is "You not hard You'll get killed round these parts like that" ok there is one more "Im a grown ass woman what i need with a barbie" those two lines alone were murder. Now remember Im a Poet, so I look for content. This young lady Keys hit the nail on the head with her very blatant dis of Nicki Minaj. Real female MC's would eat her alive.

Skip the record deal and how much money she make we are talking about pure unadulterated talent. If Nicki Minaj were to battle Keys she would lose real talk. For every song by Nicki that I listened to (even the collabs) I looked up the lyrics cuz again Im a Poet and even with the written lyrics I couldnt figure out WTF she was talking about. It wasnt cohesive at all. I dont care what her life story is or where she came from all I ask is that you tell a fluid story even if you are wack I should atleast find a cohesive train of thought. Nicki Minaj missed me with that one.

After looking and listening I found a youtube clip of Nicki Minaj saying she wasnt going to adress the BS which is EXACTLY what she did. CAN SOME ONE SAY CONTRADICTION? How can you come out publicly and say you dont address dumb ish then spend four minutes talking about it? Well not really four minutes cuz for the most part she seemed high I wasnt quite sure what was going on with her.

All I know is this...When you are in the public eye there is a responsibility and should be a standard. It is long overdue that we as consumers start calling these entertainers on their BS, and thats just REAL TALK. I cant speak for anyone but me but I take my hat off to Jasmine Mans for recognizing that Nicki Minaj is more than just T&A that she is a beautiful black woman a QUEEN and should conduct herself within the scope of that title. There are enough Idioms castrating our dignity respect and self worth as women that she doesnt have to do it for them or play into the fact that thats all there is to her. If Nicki Minaj is REALLY talented let her talent speak for her not her boobs plastic or real.

There was a time in Hip Hop when Rappers WERE Poets....but obviously that time is long gone....For those that feel this young woman is wrong for making the entertainers in her generation accountable for their actions and accountable to a standard of excellency I say you miss the beauty of this young womans brilliant mind and movement. The only true negativity in this piece is that as women we are so objectified (and allow ourselves to be so) that we feel the only way to obtain fame is to assimilate into the sex culture of our society....But real talent is everlasting.

So if recognizing that there is more to it than being half dressed or undressed and that as women we should allow  our talent to speak for us then I guess that makes me a hater. I am a woman that believes I dont have to undress publicly to be heard and have earned a reputation based on the content of my lyrics and not the content of my jeans. I have to work twice as hard to be respected by my peers cause so many women fall into the trap of selling sex. No matter how hard I have to work in the end to respected for my talent and not my tits is priceless.

Photo Shoot....$100
Self Respect........PRICELESS!