Category Archives: Editorials

The Two Cents of us and our contributors

School Uniforms

So here’s the thing. I’m a proud parent of three who will all be enrolled in Portland Public Schools (PPS) this year. What’s the deal with the enforcement of school uniforms? My kids aren’t cartoon characters why are they being forced to wear the same thing everyday? In response to this I’ve heard things like ….. it’s supposed to help kids focus on learning and not worry about having designer clothes, it’s more affordable and it improves the social outcome in a school environment. I don’t know about other parents but I’m tired of searching high and low for khakis and polo’s in specified colors, and buying more school uniforms than everyday attire. I do not and will not continue to endorse this educational form of dictatorship nor should you parents and students alike.

Plan of Action:

•send my kids to school in whatever I want or they want at least once a month.

• Facilitate a protest date in which all supporters of the no uniforms in public schools movement will send their kid/s to school for a day of free dress. There is power in numbers and power in standing up for ourselves.

•Petition to have this ridiculous rule abolished.

– Anonymous 

 

 

Boycott Black Friday 2014

I love everything that I’m watching and reading about Black people boycotting Black Friday, in light of the recent Grand Jury decision not to indict Michael Brown’s murderer. Just when I felt that we had no voice I was reminded that we have a huge voice and account for a large portion of this countries’ consumer purchases. That’s why it’s called “Black Friday!”

Seriously though it’s called Black Friday because it is when retailers traditionally get out of the red and turn a profit for the first time that year. What if they didn’t? Would we no longer be marginalized as a people? I don’t have that answer but I would love to find out.

I hope people of all races join in solidarity and keep your money in your pockets on November 28, 2014.

“No justice, No profits”

Where Are They Now?!

I hate when our society shames people for not meeting their potential. First of all it’s THEIR potential, second if you were so talented that your expectations were to be a professional athlete, musician etc and for whatever reason that doesn’t happen does that really make you a failure?

I actually know people that have one millions in the lottery; I don’t personally know any pro football players. If I don’t win mega bucks will my community clown me? Because going pro is like winning the lottery.  I’m friends with people that were great athletes in their time, not matter what they’re doing in 2014 the impact they had on their sport can never be denied.

What message does that send to the youth, we love you when you’re hot but if you don’t go pro you aint shit so you’d be safer not trying?! People are backwards. The end.

Mother’s Day love for my grandmother

Mother

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I’ve owned the book “Black: A Celebration of a Culture” by Deborah Willis for 7-8 years. It’s a book full of pictures celebrating black history and culture which sits on a table in my home for my guests to flip through. My uncle Kwasi happens to own the same book and recently pointed out to me that a photo of my grandmother (second from left) and her gospel choir is in the book!

My grandmother and I on my wedding day.
My grandmother and I on my wedding day. Photo by Naim Hasan.

My grandmother Robbie Ozan has lived on North Kerby Avenue my whole life and although I know there was life for her prior to Portland that knowledge didn’t hit home until I saw this photo.

The photo was taken in July of 1944 in Washington DC and currently resides in the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian Institution. As we approach Mother’s day I am grateful for my grandmother because the decisions that she made lead to my existence. Not only that but she helped to raise me and develop me into the man I am today. My grandmother has been without her hearing for nearly 30 years now, she has always loved music and I catch her humming from time to time.  I now wonder if it’s her gospel hymns she hums.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of the world.

 

Investigative Report: Who the hell is Lil Coon?!

Lately I’ve been challenged through our website, email and social media on why I haven’t posted anything from Lil Coon aka NIVEK on the blog. Well, once I got passed his name the first thing that struck me was the quality visuals provided by Sam Lingle, who upped the ante by declaring Lil Coon “The Kanye of Vancouver WA.”

@SamJLingle

Then I actually listened to Lil Coon..

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The man, the myth, the legend.

I make a point of not passing judgment on artist’s work. I post it and allow the people to draw their own conclusions. But this dude is bad, so bad in fact that I am certain that someone is attempting to prank the Northwest music scene.

However, I could be wrong. If so, Lil Coon my advise would be to keep doing what you’re doing young man. It’s never easy being a Hip Hop innovator. Stay consistently spitting that fire and the notoriety will come.

Please leave comments! Can anyone vouch for Lil Coon?! Can anyone expose his true identity?!

F*ck Sam Thompson’s Lists!

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For the record I love Sam aka Seeznin just as much as Portland loves controversy, I figured this title would get this post a few clicks (thanks). Seriously though, Sam’s a great guy and does a lot in our community. He’s a comedian, he promotes and hosts events, he’s a community organizer, I could go on for days. One thing he definitely is not is a record executive.

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Flavor Flav

People have to ask themselves, why they give a damn about Sam’s opinion. It reminds me of the reality show “Flavor of Love.” Those women didn’t want Flav’s ass! They wanted the title of baddest chick in the house.  Even if that title came from someone named by bossip magazine as a top ten rapper with a face only a mother could love. You see people get so entrenched in competing against their peers and getting any type of notoriety what so ever that they’d be happy winning a beauty contest judged by blind men.

Sam is hilarious and I tune into his lists faithfully for entertainment and to see what happens when he lights the fuse. We the people give lists/rankings like this power and we can take it away. Moral to the story: keep working on your craft, keep things in perspective and F*ck Sam Thompson’s lists!

Leave a comment and weigh in on the matter.

Seattle Celebrates Superbowl Victory

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(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

How do these photos make you feel Portland? Personally, I’m happy for our neighbors to the north. Considering that we don’t have a team of our own and the Seahawks have the same owner as our beloved Trail Blazers they kinda are our team right?  Not quite.

This was a huge win..for Seattle. I think it’s great that we’ve been neighborly but until the Blazers or Timbers hoist a banner into the rafters we’ll forever be on the outside looking in.

My goal isn’t to piss on your parade, but to remind you to stay diligent and keep your eyes on the prize.  Let’s “12th Man” our squads to glory and bring one home to the Rose City!

Blazers Celebrate 1977
Portlanders fill the streets in celebration of the Trail Blazers’ 1977 NBA Championship. Photo by Roger Jensen/The Oregon Journal

Reality TV: I am Watching, but Who Else Is? by Imani Embaye

RealityTVBlog2Reality T.V. is an aspect of our society that is frowned upon yet seems to be the guilty pleasure of many. There is a variety of shows, so I understand why a lot of people tune-in. However, I think we get so focused on the entertainment aspect, that we don’t realize what these shows are actually doing. For many people, these shows are funny and the reason for watching is to laugh at the “ratchet” behavior of people or see what these “rich” people will do next. Well, while we are getting a simple laugh, the world is getting a negative view of black people. The world is seeing black people parade ignorance and violence, and then justify it over a glass of wine.

I’m sure some of you are sitting there thinking up a bunch of reality shows where white people have negative portrayals; however those are irrelevant. The issue is not that there are not any negative portrayals of other races, it is that they have a large variety of representations and we do not. Some examples of “white” reality shows include: The Real Housewives Franchise (excluding Atlanta and Miami), Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Best Ink, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Duck Dynasty. Yes, there is “ratchet” activity on some of these shows but usually it is not the main focus. Furthermore, with the few that do feature ignorance, they are dismissed with casual disclaimers like “those people are simply uneducated” or “under the influence of alcohol.”

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Examples of “black” reality shows include: The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, Married to Medicine, Bad Girls Club, Black Ink. and T.I and Tiny: The Family Hustle. Most of these shows do not have disclaimers. A lot of the drama that happens occurs between sober and educated business people. More importantly, a lot of these shows were created to showcase negative attributes. This is why almost all of the Basketball “Wives” are divorcees or ex-girlfriends or why Black Ink seldomly showcases tattoos. As a result of this, the first thought when considering these shows is not the cast’s many successful businesses; it is their relationship baggage or dysfunctional families. I emphasize MANY because the truth is, a lot of these reality t.v. stars are successful and talented but these shows do not focus on that.

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At the end of the day, these people can let their whole lives be filmed but it is up to the producers and editors to decide whether this show is portrayed as a professional, family show or trash that children under 15 shouldn’t even know about. Even so, we as viewers have the final say about whether these shows will stay on air or if more shows will be made. If we watch, they make money and will keep making more. I will admit that I used to watch reality t.v. faithfully, but once I really started to look at the bigger picture, I had to slow it down.
I wrote this article to get people thinking and discussing what is really going on in our world. We need to think of ways to help create change but also notice, and change the areas where we are hindering our own progress. We can stop watching it altogether or even just work on being a better representation through our everyday lives. Either way, we have to do more! With that being said, Leave a Comment! Share your thoughts and opinions about reality t.v. or any other relevant topics.

#Supportland..Remember that?

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sup·port

səˈpôrt/

verb
  1. 1.
    bear all or part of the weight of; hold up.
    “the dome was supported by a hundred white columns”
    synonyms: hold up, bear, carry, prop up, keep up, brace, shore up, underpin,buttress, reinforce, undergird More

  2. 2.
    give assistance to, esp. financially; enable to function or act.
    “the government gives $2.5 billion a year to support the activities of the voluntary sector”
    synonyms: help, aid, assist; More

    The purpose of this post isn’t to point fingers or dwell on a problem, it’s to try to begin the discussion of how to bring about change. Problem: overall, we as Portland artists (of all kinds) do not show one another enough support. Why? In my opinion it is because we have been conditioned to believe that there is not enough for us all to eat. In our minds when one of us is winning they’re limiting our opportunities to do the same, better yet, they’re taking food off our plates. It’s not because Portland people are bread to hate or to be bitter, it’s because we haven’t seen enough of us succeed to realize that opportunities are plentiful. Which is ironic because I truly believe we haven’t seen enough of us succeed because we don’t support one another. See where I’m going with this? Right, it’s a vicious cycle.

    If you were hoping to read this post and find that evasive quick fix then let me apologize, I just hope we can all agree on the issue and slowly begin to show love in our own ways. Before Scarface I knew nothing about Houston or southern Hip Hop. But because those from his city and region supported him and others like him the south has been flooding the radio airways for years now.

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    One powerful tool that I know we personally are under utilizing is social media. A “like” goes a long way, re-posts and shares go even further. We’re not looking to start a “movement” let’s just do better.

    By the way, thanks for reading our blog 😉

     

     

Revealed: Manscaping, what is it? When is it okay?

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The definition of Manscaping according to the Urban Dictionary is:

A term used to define male grooming below the belt. A male can use both an electric razor or a regular razor. A Mach 3 is preferable with the ladies on the testicular area. No female likes to deal with hairy balls, so men must education themselves on proper manscaping and maintenance techniques.”

Why are we talking about this? I’ll tell you why, I got into a heated debate with some less enlightened brothas over the weekend and it made me realize that some education is in order. The majority of the group argued that shaving pretty much anything below the neck is for females, or feminine men. Not surprisingly these are the same guys that spend more of their free time holding a video game controller than some soft legs.

While their argument is flawed for many reasons let’s focus on good ol’ fashion ignorance. Fellas we’re not talking about shaving your legs or arching your eyebrows! We’re talking about common courtesy here. My mom always told me to never invite guests to the crib without tidying up the place 😉  I’m giving you guys a pass because I’m hoping that if you knew better you’d do better. Don’t fall into the category of men that think that because a woman has never complained to their face that they don’t notice or don’t care.

Some of you cave men are going to come for my head on this one. Bring it satchsquatch! Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment box and don’t forget to follow our blog.