Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On My Radar: Alabama Shakes

You would find few that would argue with the fact that the music industry is more about image, marketing and branding more than is it about the actual talent of artists and bands. Sure, every so often you will find someone with the swagger and true talent of a Christina Aguilera, Beyonce or Adam Levine, but it most cases if an artists doesn't look the part, they'll get...well...overlooked.

This is why a group like the Alabama Shakes is so impressive. The fact that a group with a lead singer who is not exactly a Victoria Secret model backed by a band of nerds gives you no choice but to look past their lack of industry appeal and acknowledge that the girl can sing and the guys can play their asses off. It's refreshing. Hopefully we'll be hearing more from this crew.

After all, I did randomly run across their video while flipping past the very image-conscious MTV.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Manny Pacquiao's Greatest Opponent...Bob Arum

Let's get straight to the point: Manny Pacquiao has to grow some balls and take control of his own career. Instead of worrying about fighting Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (42-0) to cement his legacy as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters that the world has ever seen, he must first defeat his biggest opponent--and promoter--Bob Arum.

It's very sad when a casual boxing fan, such as myself, can clearly see that Bob Arum is the main impediment to making a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao come to fruition. Arum has done an excellent job over the past few years of successfully shifting negative public opinion onto the Mayweather camp as the cause for the mega-fight not taking place. Over the past year, however, that veil has slowly been lifted and Top Rank's chronic dodging of Mayweather has been exposed.

How is it possible to say that your fighter is available to fight against various in-house opponents potentially on May 5th when it was thought that Mayweather was going to jail, but then turn around the VERY NEXT DAY and say that Manny wouldn't be ready to fight until June after Mayweather's sentence was postponed to accomodate a May fight--citing an eye cut, that apparently, wouldn't have mattered had the May 5 opponent been Marquez, Peterson, Cotto or Bradley? Why not just admit that you don't want to fight Mayweather under any circumstances. At least that would be respectable. Why insult the boxing public's intelligence? Why lie?

Why lie about wanting to build a new stadium to accommodate the fight when you could just as easily make the May fight with Mayweather and put a rematch clause into the negotiations regardless of who emerges the victor? Maybe even take the rematch to the Cowboy's stadium that holds as many people as the suggested new construction would hold? It's obvious that this is just another stall tactic to kill the fight, but why lie?

I'll tell you why...

It's clear that Arum is more concerned with his own bank account than preserving the integrity of the sport. Sharing profits with other organizations would cut into his personal profit and force Arum to be transparent in his financial dealings with other promoters, Mayweather, and Pacquiao. He would, ultimately, be forced to be honest, and that's not good for Arum.

It's also clear that he has no faith that his prize fighter could defeat the undefeated Mayweather, thus potentially cutting into his long-term profits since a Pacquiao loss would hurt his marketing power.

I get it! Bob is only protecting HIS financial interest because, after all, boxing in a business; He wants to get as much mileage out of Pacquiao as he can before he cashes out on a Mayweather bout at the very end of his career; but in the process, Arum is singlehanded choking the life out of a sport that is already on life support. There is no viable interest in any other fights out there for Pac and Arum knows it. Instead, he would rather make as many in-house fights as he can because he knows that he can financially take advantage of his own guys on the front and back ends without any scathing questions being asked. It's all about greed.


For the love of the sport, your fans, and the integrity of boxing, take control of your own affairs, fire Bob Arum like Mayweather did, and make the fight that the world has been unnecessarily waiting on for the past 2-3 years happen. He is not working in your best interest and is using you for every dime that he can muster out of you, and I am sure that if you look closely at your finances, Arum is making more off of you than you are making off of yourself. He does not care about your legacy and will be on to the next "champion" should you happen to get knocked out by the subpar in-house competition that he is currently spoon-feeding you. You don't need him! Be smart! Make your own decisions. Hire promoters on a per-fight basis and call your own shots!

When you look back on your boxing career, ask yourself if you stepped up the challenge of defeating your biggest opponent...Bob Arum.

And also, respond to Mayweather's Tweet calling you out @FloydMayweather. He's his own man. Perception is everything, and unfortunately for you, Floyd is winning that battle right now.

Monday, January 9, 2012


What's up folks? Actually, I'm positive that nobody will see this post, but I just wanted to let anyone who may be out there know that I am STILL ALIVE!!! LOL. It's been about three years since I left the blogosphere and in that time I've had a lot of life experiences that have changed my perspective on things in some ways.

And in many ways I'm still the same Ol' G...

We'll see how my perspective has changed (or stayed the same) soon enough. I think it's time for me to start writing again. I've been gone long enough. I'll talk to you soon...


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Chopper Suit

Check out Bow Weezy's "Chopper Suit" Reaction:

I have been seeing references to the infamous "Chopper Suit" since February and only found out what it was referring to today. Watch Chopper City from Making the Band make of an ass of himself by trying to stunt in an oversized, Blade Brown from Class Act suit. Hilarious.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chester French

This new group is signed to Pharell's Star Trak label. They're like The Beatles meets N.E.R.D. meets Motown. I'm liking this.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Most Important Moment of 2008

There is no one who will dispute that 2008 was the year of Barack Obama. In what was probably the most exciting election in U.S. history, we emerged with our first Black President. And while many would argue that his actual election on November 4th was the most important moment of 2008, I would argue that his speech on race was the single most important moment of the election.

With his poll numbers dropping and his back against the wall due to the Jeremiah Wright issue Obama delivered a speech that put the controversy to bed while simultaneously forcing America deal with its racism. The Jeremiah Wright controversy turned out to be a blessing because it allowed him to publicly dissect the one issue that would have been the road block to his victory. It made his relationship with the Black community stronger through empathy and made those White swing voters who were afraid of pulling the lever for a Black man realize that his candidacy transcended race.

I think that without this speech November 4th would have never been possible.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Black Scholar Debate: Private U. versus State U. versus HBCU

This post comes from my chapter brother Kofi Bofah who is the Founder/CEO of Onyx Investments in Chicago. Great read.


Let us evaluate the daunting paradox that confronts the Black intellectual in terms of collegiate alliance. The ultimate decision to grant support towards a public university, elite private institution, or a Historically Black College-University (H.B.C.U.) is of great importance at face value. As we delve deeper into the issue, we will expose the fact that the said proposal is a mere microcosm of the other-worldly challenges confronting the Black Scholar.

We shall assume that the applicant is ideally positioned to select the institution of his choice as a consequence of academic and financial merit. This mandate allows for intelligent benchmarking as we may effectively compare and contrast the top programs of the aforementioned private, public, and H.B.C.U. categories.

Our analysis is not an indictment against artistic colleges or trade schools. Rather, the work highlights the personal experiences of the author. I am a 2002 graduate of The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and carry numerous acquaintances from private universities and Historically Black Colleges. These are the circles with which I am most familiar.

Let us evaluate the merit: Private University versus State Public versus Historically Black College.

Private University

Examples: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, M.I.T., Stanford, Duke, Chicago, Northwestern, Brown

Pros: Name Recognition, Academic Rigor, Networking, Unlimited Resources

Cons: Irrelevant Sports, hyper-competitive atmosphere, limited social activity, expense

Challenges for the Black Intellectual: Minimal Black enrollment. Students and graduates largely subjugated to "Uncle Tom" venom by the Black Community.

The academic rigor of the elite United States Private University is unmatched. 22 out of the 25 top Universities according to the U.S. News and World Report are Private Universities. The names loom large as a salute to intellectual firepower from the Harvard - Yale - Princeton - PENN - Dartmouth - Cornell - Columbia - Brown University Ivy League to the Duke - Stanford - Cal Tech - M.I.T. - Johns Hopkins - Chicago - Northwestern - Vanderbilt University regional stalwarts.

These institutions are worlds unto themselves and are even responsible for outright intellectual movements. For example, Stanford brainpower dominates the Internet; the University of Chicago has introduced the world to a school of economic thought; and Hopkins, along with Duke University is synonymous with medical breakthroughs.

The academic capacity along with the sheer networking available to the attendants of these schools is unparalleled. Barack Obama went to Harvard, Google and Intel were nurtured in the hallowed corridors of Stanford University, and the late Milton Friedman upheld the term "Chicago" economist.

Although we intimated earlier that expense was not an issue for our prospect - the decree was telegraphed in response to the admit-reject scenario. The admit-reject is an applicant that is mockingly admitted to a University that he is unable to afford. We are assuming that our ideal candidate enjoys the backing of personal, family financial support and/or scholarships.

Still, expense is always an issue due to the opportunity cost factor. 2008-2009 undergraduate tuition and fees for these top-25 private institutions average $36,545. The outliers are Rice University at Houston, TX with a $29,960 outlay and Columbia University in New York City at $39,326 for 2008-2009 tuition and fees. Expect total costs to approach one quarter of a million dollars in exchange for a diploma from the elite Private University.

Financially, middle-class parents are exasperated and Private U. graduates are often strapped with outrageous levels of debt throughout their working years.

Is it really worth it?

The crushing financials along with the sky-high expectations of these credentialed Golden Children may easily propagate an eerie aura of malaise. This talented-tenth elite group must not only accept the torch of family and peer expectations - but is unwittingly burdened with carrying the flag of an entire race. The Black Intellectual is tormented by this paradox. He must fully embrace a Western Culture that has not always embraced his person.

The toxic dichotomy is exacerbated by the jealous suspicion that seeks to degrade his every accomplishment. The Black Scholar "acts white," "talks white," and is ridiculed as an out-of touch snob by legions of his own crab-like people and society at-large.

Carlton Banks wanted to go to Princeton.

Private School University Recommendation: Attend for the intellectual stimulation. Money must really be a non-issue.

Public University

Examples: Cal-Berkeley, UVA, UCLA, Michigan, Wisconsin, UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech

Pros: Relative affordability, collegiate atmosphere, selective programs comparable to Privates, general diversity.

Cons: Crushing amounts of students, resources privy to State budgeting, distractions.

Challenges for the Black Intellectual: The Public U. graduate must fiercely battle for positioning amongst the bourgeoisie Jack and Jill crowd while still confronting the "White School" stigma.

The flagship Public University is representative of its State and entire region. Whereas elite private institutions are close-knit beacons of intellectualism - State U. is a coordinated mass movement of scholarship, sporting events, and social activity.

For example, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill is embraced throughout the Tar Heel State while our Duke University neighbors our mocked as haughty Northern carpetbaggers -designated by the University of New Jersey at Durham quasi nameplate.

The collegiate atmosphere is under girded by the infusion of this regional sentiment. Although the University of Texas lists 2007 enrollment at an already staggering 50,170 - UT is actually backed by 25 million Lone Star residents in the name of State Pride and tax dollars.

Overall, State U. academics are not quite as rigorous as the aforementioned Private Universities. The University of California at Berkeley is the top-ranked public school - but is twenty-first nationally according to U.S. News. Berkeley, the University of Virginia, and the University of California - Los Angeles are the public universities that round out the bottom of the top-twenty five pecking order.

The top-tier public school is a bargain-bin value for state residents. 2008-2009 in-state tuition and fees for Berkeley, UCLA, and UVA average out at a very manageable $8,422 figure. Thirtieth ranked UNC is a special value for native Tar Heels with a minimal $5,396 tuition bill and Florida-Gainesville is a mere pittance for Sunshine State residents at $3,790. The expense of a full, four-year education is often equivalent to one year's tuition at a top private university.

Out-of-State tuition and fees expenses are roughly $10,000 less than the private schools, with an average $28,414 calculation for these three public schools that have been recognized as top 25 institutions. Still, the $29,600 charge for the University of Virginia is comparable to the $29,960 tab for the higher-ranked Rice University; and twenty-sixth ranked Michigan carries a steep $32,401 out-of-state tuition tab that is comparable to any University in terms of expense.

Public school University students work hard and play hard. The State U. graduate must remain vigilant to effectively combat the debauchery that comes part in parcel with 30,000-50,000 young adults left to fend for themselves for the first time.

The State University easily degenerates into Animal Farm Party U.

This may not exactly be a bad thing.

Public School University Recommendation: The enrollee is seeking the complete collegiate experience and exudes the requisite stability to stand tall against the masses. The flagship in-state school should always be considered.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Examples: Howard University, S.C. State, NC A&T, NC Central, Morehouse, Spelman, Florida A&M.

Pros: Community geared to support African Americans. Tightly knit network.

Cons: Lack of resources, lesser academic rigor, unrealistic model of society.

Challenges for the Black Intellectual: Males dismissed as militant, angry Black Men; Females caricatured as militant, angry Soul Sistas.

The top-ranked H.B.C.U.s are Spelman College, Howard, and Morehouse. Unfortunately, Howard University is the only member of this group that may lay claim to a ranking according to the U.S. News and Word Report guide. Howard is ranked as the 102nd best university in the nation - tied with such notables as Florida State, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and U Mass - but slightly ahead of the University of Tennessee.

No other H.B.C.U. is ranked within the top 130 programs. South Carolina State University at Orangeburg is the next in line with a "Tier 3" listing.

The Historically Black College came into existence in response to the second Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890 (the original Morrill Land-Grant Act was proposed to advance the educational standards of Americans.) The mandate ordered that states using federal land grant funds to construct universities must open these schools to all races - or allocate money for segregated Black colleges that were apparently "alternatives" to white schools. 16 exclusively Black institutions were to receive 1890 land-grant funds.

History has exposed the legislated "separate but equal" logic to be a complete farce. Unfortunately, inadequate funding, resources, and overall access sabotage the H.B.C.U. model.

Howard University lists an endowment fund that is a shade over $500 million. This figure is a grotesque tragedy in comparison to Harvard's $34 billion war chest. The Historically Black College struggles to compete with these wealthy private institutions and the Public Universities that absorb the bulk of State House education funds. Politically, the allocation of tax dollars to the flagship schools representing larger cross sections of society as opposed to one specific group is more plausible.

The H.B.C.U. is an alternative Universe where the environment is built to comfort the African-American at every cost. This is not the America that we all know.

In spite of these shortcomings, the Historically Black College remains a staple of the Black Community. These campuses automatically facilitate a camaraderie and cultural pride that is impossible to achieve at the typical private institution that features a scant African American student body, or the far-flung public university where the individual is easily lost in the shuffle.

The Historically Black College is a supportive environment built for Black scholars to fervently pursue academics without the looming fear of outside persecution.

Historically Black College Recommendation: The applicant's selection is an indication of his full embrace of Black Culture, rather than the naive indictment of the racial and socioeconomic machinations of society at-large.


A sheep is still a sheep, regardless of whatever degree that he holds.

The diploma is merely a piece of paper indicating the one has completed a particular level of study. This shred of paper is meaningless without the driving personality backing the document. Essentially, the true elite thrive in all environments while the masses revert towards the mean, irrespective of educational pedigree or social positioning.

The selection in regards to the merit of a particular private school, public university, of a Historically Black College will only highlight the strengths and further exacerbate the weaknesses of the individual.

The Black Scholar already recognizes the fun-house essence of his existence. The Black Intellectual must fully embrace a world that is privy to degrade his character with both subtle directives and outright hostilities.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Birthday Girl

Leave it to The Roots to make an abstract video about pedophilia and underage sex. This song was left on the cutting room floor of their latest album, Rising Down, mainly because it did not fit in with the dark sound of the album. Though this video never aired on MTV or BET I think that it was one of the most original, and disturbing, videos of 2008.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Selfishness

If you listen to the words of the late Eartha Kitt (God rest her soul) it's obvious that Christmas was a holiday created to perpetuate materialism. In fact, Christmas has mainly become a retail-driven holiday disguised as a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Even as I did my research this year in an attempt to have a discussion about Christmas with my family on Christmas morning about the "reason for the season," to celebrate the spirit of giving, and to celebrate the life of Christ I was disappointed to find that at least 2/3 of the holiday isn't even rooted in Christianity.

Most of the rituals that we go through during Christmas (i.e. Decorating trees, mistletoe, gift giving etc.) were taken directly from the Roman week-long pagan Saturnalia festival that culminated on December 25th before Christianity became the religion of the day. The holy day (or holiday) was designed to honor the pagan god Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest.

In memory of the Golden Age of man, a mythical age when Saturn was said to have ruled, a great feast called Saturnalia was held during the winter months around the time of the winter solstice. It was originally only one day long, taking place on December 17, but later lasted one week. It wasn't until 325 A.D. that Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and designated December 25th the date of Jesus' birth. The Saturnalia festival was to continue but was the honor Christ instead of Saturn. Some report that he named the new holiday Christ's Mass which was later known as Christmas. But I digress...

Regardless of the technical origin of the holiday I wanted to take the materialism out of it this year and really just bond with my family. I wanted to take the pressure off of my family to feel obligated to buy me expensive gifts just because the holiday dictates that we do so.

What really got me in the mood to try to make the holiday more meaningful this year was being out and about and hearing parents worry out loud about whether or not their children would be pleased with what they got them. Would the child be upset if they got them an XBox because the Nintendo Wiis were sold out? Would they mind if they got them an 8 Gig iPod Touch instead of the 32 Gig...

How did we create such a monster of a holiday? How did we let mythical pagan figures such as Santa Clause, whom is supposed to represent the spirit of giving, ultimately turn the holiday into the season of getting--with children having no clear concept of what Christmas is supposed to represent?

Realize that I only make such harsh observations of the holiday because I have been a victim of it...

As a child December was the month that became synonymous with the question:

"What do you want Santa to bring you this year?"

I remember waking up on Christmas mornings and finding mountains of gifts and toys under the Christmas tree from the list of things that I requested Santa to bring me. I never thought about reciprocating the kindness to him or to others except for a cup of milk and couple of Oreo cookies.

The danger of this exchange was that as I got older, I began to expect extravagant toys because Santa would bring them whether or not I had been good that particular year. After all, I got my Nintendo system last year even though I had gotten into a fist fight with Dennis down the street a few days before Christmas. I'll just leave Santa a few cookies and he'll leave me lots of presents.

When I as in the 7th grade, I was the son of a single parent with an older brother and sister. Although I did not believe in Santa Clause at this point, I continued the facade because I didn't have the heart to tell my mother... and perhaps because I selfishly felt that if I told her that maybe I wouldn't receive as much.

That particular year what I specifically wanted was a particular pair of black Nike high tops. I told my mom that I wanted them, but downplayed it because I knew that money was tight. When Christmas day came and I found myself opening a box of all black low-top suede Champion shoes, I was visibly upset and single-handedly ruined the mood of a day that was supposed to be about the joy of giving. All she really wanted to get out of that day was to see her children smile. The pain on my mother's face that day is something that I will always remember. I felt small...like an ingrate--and rightfully so.

The myth of Santa Clause, I think, to some degree creates a selfish reasoning in children that negatively affects their outlook on life. Whether children are "naughty or nice" they will probably get the things that they want for Christmas. If they do not get what they want they will likely have a selfish contempt for whomever was responsible for the oversight--for not feeding their desires.

Sometimes I wonder how I will treat Christmas when I have a family. I definitely want them to experience the joy of getting, but I want them to have an even deeper appreciation for the joy of giving and making someone else's life a little better.

Will Santa play a pivotal role in my kids' lives? I am not certain that he will. But I do know that I never want my children to have a sense of entitlement like I developed when I was young--an entitlement that seems to pervade the minds of children, and adults, in our culture.