MLK Edition – Hot 16…Or More…EYES CLOSED

Okay,

it appears that I have sparked some great debate and controversy since I first took it upon myself to add my 2 cents in on this whole Jay-z video imagery thing.

It’s grown into something else altogether, an all out argument over the existence or non-existence of Secret Societies, who’s in them, who knows what, and how we’re effected by them or what we can and can’t even do about it!

So in light of this,

I thought we could all benefit from a nice change of pace as I turn the attention to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the significance of this day.

Now you don’t need me to school you on anything dealing with the good Reverend Doctor because like me, no matter what race you are, if you’ve been schooled in America since a young’n, this is the ONE Black figure who you have gotten a lifetime’s worth of information about. The influence, The Image, the Southern roots, the voice, the viewpoint, the wife, the death, and The speech, oh, let’s NOT forget The speech.

But what I think of when I think of King moreso than anythng is the legacy. And I question it. What did we get from all of his Blood tears and suffering? And what did we do with it? In the aftermath of such an Iconic martyr’s actions and sacrifices, and others like himself, was the dream reached? Are we appreciatiave? or do we just give the universal head nod with the regurgitated factoids that we learned about this Man in elementary class and thank the government for giving us another day to not be at work?

This is what I think about everytime this time of year rolls around. And I press you to think of it too.

Everytime you see Plies or Birdman or Gucci Mane’s new video, do you think;

‘yeah, that’s the dream in action because these are young black men given the chance to make money and provide for themselves and their family, and they make music that transcends race and have listeners of all cultures’?

or

do you shake your head in disgust knowing that these are young guys with limited education but a massive influence on younger generations, glorifying lifestyles surrounding killing other black men over money (if not for lesser reasons if provoked), selling drugs, misogyny, and heavy recreational drug use?

When you watch the Fantasia or Keyshia Cole reality shows or whoever is out with one this year, is this a win because these women are showing you realities and are living in equal tax brackets as women of other races, being broadcasted nationally on White-owned networks?

Or is it the worst look ever for Blacks in America being that stereotypes are perpetuated, and once again, we run the risk of looking like we don’t match up to the standards of class and poise like our counterparts of  other races?

Truth be told, White people run rampant on television screens. They can afford to have a Jersey Shore, Wife Swap, or Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

With Blacks only making up a small percentage of national programming, The slate is a little skewed and the stakes are higher when it comes to perception of us as a group of people.

I guess it depends on how you look at these things.

But this is what Iam asking you to ask yourself. Where are you on this spectrum?

I chose to place the picture above for the fact that it always stood out to me since the first time I saw it while cruising the “internets”. It made me think.

And I want you to remember this picture with this humorous but thought provoking line atop, everytime you hear of some ridiculous crime that some person of color committed against another. Or everytime you hear that White friend of yours who you allow to say Nigga.

Just something to think about.

With that,

I give you The King inspired part 1 of  “Eyes Closed”,

My folky, mid-20’s lament on where I was at that point in my life, where people lose their foresight in the pursuit of their dreams, and how perseverance is the only thing that will get you through. The overall theme of this song is the benefit of tunnel vision.

This track was the first song over original music that I recorded at the onset of my career in 2006 . I went to visit my Boy and longtime producer, The Politician, while in D.C. and we cooked up 3 songs in one weekend. This was the most profound, and some of you may realize that this is the very song that you can see me performing blindfolded on the EPK of my site, MALIK-16.COM

This is the first verse. And it goes a little something like…

“I am,

The American Dream in Technicolor,

‘Cept the color has faded,

– every second a nigga’s cuffed, for every other who made it.

(It got buried with DR. KING)

cause all the stuff with his name is,

known for violence…

no surprise – check your MLK strip.

It’s the same with Malcolm X,

my mom on Lenox,

and her block be looking like Gotham,

that’s a problem when it

– ain’t no niggas with capes,

jumping out of project windows,

so I keep a Bat, Man

in the car where I’m sittin.

Especially when crooked cops, wanna Sean Bell niggas,

guess they raised the number of shots,

since Diallo,

and I

– couldn’t make no promises since I,

didn’t make it out of college and since then,

I been tryin’a make some logic and sense of ,

this game I’m involved in, yet it’s

been so elusive – the truth is:

Hip-hop product ain’t sellin’,

the way it used ta – the booth is:

just how I calm down my headache

– and I said it before – I’m putting the mic down,

-there I go pickin’ it back up again,

and yeah I might fall,

but it’s my life now,

I don’t know how, but I know I’mma Win….

On that…

Highway to pay the toll,

sucka niggas hatin’,

– tell ’em blind faith is all I know,

– jumpin’ with my Eyes Closed

They don’t know,

– I’m ridin’ with my Eyes Closed

They don’t know.”

Hope you learned something…

You may download this song here for as long as the link works;

http://www.zshare.net/audio/7138145068248da5/

Jay-Z video controversy Addressed, but questions remain…

Shout out to the boy Mike Gordon for hitting me with this in response to last week’s post about whether or not I should join the whole Jay-Z imagery controversy.

As a platform for enlightened conversation and debate sparking, I try to steer clear of gossip on average on this blog unless it’s utterly unavoidable, or happens to careen into my lane. Trust me, there have been times when I wanted to. I had the itch to today, I was strongly tempted by something that may have ruffled some feathers of folks that I know…then I remembered why I do this.

So I wondered if I should’ve posted that whole Jay Video thing last week at all because the subject is so dead now, but I knew my boys Mos and Marv would have something to say and I awaited their response. I really wanted Mos’ point of view, being that this topic is one that he brought up waaaayyy before. His point was one not so muc about who’s a member of what, but who’s controlling who sees what and thru which mediums and Personalities. I get it. I definitely don’t think they’re letting us into their lodges and secret tunnels anytime soon.

However, this week showed the first response from Jay and company, and Mike was kind enough to take things one step further by sending me this link to a posting about an interview with the Director of “On To The Next One”, Sam Brown. http://hiphopwired.com/2010/01/13/“on-to-the-next-one”-director-explains-video/

Here’s what I found to be the most interesting quotes from that;

“For those interested, the idea is actually about a funeral for old imagery and ideas, hence all the gothic and oppressive stuff. I was also trying to contradict the excess of hip-hop videos by making something brutally simple and claustrophobic.”

“There is imagery in this video that is drawn from all over the place. None of it is owned by any one culture or belief system. You can connect anything if you try hard enough, and make it mean anything you want it to.”

And that, was the very point that I was making about the dangers of over-analyzing. Now of course, we can start saying it’s the director who’s into that stuff, not Jay, but everything seems like one big Fuckery-fest at this point.

How about the words from Jay himself??, who I expected to brush things off with a dry laugh and joke just as he did… But yet and still, he hints at the same thing I said about when did the rules change??

http://gossiponthis.com/2010/01/13/jay-z-denies-devil-worshiping-and-illuminati-ties-in-angie-martinez-interview/

And while we’re at it, I just remembered this Dope or should I say ‘abstract’ video from ’97 off of the Soul Assassins album in the era where money and thought was actually being thrown into Hip Hop videos shot-by-shot. Does anyone remember this? Does this mean that Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill are down with the conspiracy too?

oooohhhh…..

As Promised…

The triumphant return of Sex & The Chocolate City, after a Mini-Winter break.

TDJ returns in super expository fashion sharing some really intimate details to set the New Year off.

No, this is not the update on dude from the train like some of you were expecting, but that’s only because she hasn’t ran into him again. Hold Tight!

Ladies, who Loves you, huh??!

In the meantime,  I welcome all new readers and followers of this blog, and remind them that yeah, whenever you see this pink banner every Tuesday, I’m NOT the one writing that!! But it’s the best part of this site, besides the Classic Sounds Candle Reviews. I only have Tiffany to thank for that, so for now, look underneath and enjoy the double helping of that ‘Pretty Brown Brown’ aphrodesiac.

The Chocolate I mean, not the Sex….

Sex & The Chocolate City – Entry #7

A DECADE OF MEN

Happy New Year folks! I’m sure all of you were excited to ring in the new year with the promise of a new start, after throwing another ten years behind you (especially that ’09, sheesh). I also bet you had a chance to reflect on your love lives in the past ten years as well. Some of you’ve been through a couple of relationships, breakups, or have taken steps to marriage. A decade is a tremendous time for growth. Looking back on the last ten years of my own dating history, I’ve seen MANY ups and downs but I’ve also seen a few patterns. So on Sunday, after ringing in the New Year and sobering up, I listed all the men I’ve dated that were significant in the past ten years (i.e that dude that took me to Red Lobster my Freshman year with holes in the bottom of his car, doesn’t count). I listed strengths, weakness, and what went wrong.

Examples:

Name: Al

Dated: 2002, then again 2004

Strengths: Honest, brilliant, humble

Weakness: insensitive, vain, selfish

The End: The Fade Out

Name: Aaron

Dated: 2005

Strengths: caring, sweet, funny.

Weakness: Pushover, sloppy drunk, needed to learn how to use lotion.

The End: Massive fight in the Bahamas

The reason for the exercise, I wanted to see if there was a pattern in the men I was choosing for myself. I also wanted to recognize any bad habits in myself. I noticed that I’ve dated a lot of guys in the past that were really sweet but when it came down to business of us they couldn’t speak their minds and were cowards about their feelings. So I suggest, if you’re still single, to try this exercise. It may be painful, at first, thinking back to all those assholes, but sometimes, looking at the bigger picture from older and wiser eyes may be all the explanation you ever really needed.

TDJ

Sex & The Chocolate City – Entry #6

When doves cry…

I made my ex cry yesterday, bawling like a child. This is the second ex that I’ve made cry so I started to think that maybe (just maybe) it might be me.

To make a long story short, I was tracking down my ex twice removed so he could testify in a case I have against my old landlord. I hadn’t seen or talked to him in six months. He wasn’t returning my phone calls or text messages in weeks thus I had to resort to stalking him (yes, his testimony is THAT important). It took me an entire day of roaming around Brooklyn in 18 degree weather till I finally found him at one of his weed spots, just chilling, with his phone in hand no less. I never screamed so much in all my life, I was so furious. He tried to come up with some excuses but they were clearly lies. Then suddenly he started crying, sobbing about how he didn’t return my calls because he wanted me to feel how he felt when I stopped returning his calls, how he missed me and that he didn’t understand why I let him go, and that I was an asshole for leaving him for some other guy (my most current ex). I admit, I am a stone cold bitch when it come to getting things done, I don’t have time for games (especially when its freezing outside).  But when I saw this stone cold Brooklyn hustler cry like a baby, my heart cracked and all I could do was stand there with my mouth open. It felt like we had switch roles. I was the dense dude and he was the sappy chick. If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have been devastated if he had suddenly said “stop calling me”, after we had been speaking to each other for over five years.

I don’t tell this story to emasculate him any further, I tell this to say be mindful of your actions in a breakup. Women are made to believe that men are these strong unemotional creatures who can take and live through anything. That they get over breakups easily, on to the next one. So women are more curt with their breakups, more harsh, mostly to protect themselves because they’re worried about their own fragile feelings. But as it turns out, they are just as sensitive as women when they truly love someone.

TDJ

Should I Even Join This Debate? Jay – Z and The Imagery

I debated with myself whether or not I was going to post anything on this subject because it’s been run into the ground at this point.

In the last 2 Weeks, the internets have been going GaGa with the back and forth over the now 5 year old Rumor of Jay-Z being a member of the Masons and the much speculated on but never publicly revealed, Illuminati.

The only thing with this newness is now there’s talk of Every Major artist on the charts right now being in on this and apart of it. It doesn’t help that Jay’s new weird ass (or artistic, as some would call it) video for “On To The Next One”, has all kind of symbolic imagery in it. Besides having absolutely Nada to do with the song, the fact that there is fire all over the place, black and white, and some depiction of Jesus near bullets is all that was needed to take this convo over the top.

From this point on, everytime that Jay line “It’s a secret society, all we ask is trust” comes on, it’ll never be heard the same way.

I should’ve saw this coming when I was having a conversation with this super Christian chic I used to talk to who was telling me all of this stuff about Jay-Z’s  “Run This Town” video and it’s symbolism. Then she proceeded to freak me out with Talk of The whole Taylor Swift and Kanye controversy being a Masonic induction disguised as a media outrage. I wondered where the fuck she got this shit from, then I remembered who I was talking to.

But it gets deep.

This is the stuff My boy Mos and my boy Marv XX of the Gemstars rant on about and talk me and my other boys to death about. This is also the kind of stuff that I was on back in high school and Freshman year of College, complete with my New World Order and Behold A Pale Horse books in the collection.

But even as I watch History channel, and see the Masons denying all mysterious connotations of darkness and Devil worship (of course) and all the 30 something year old Black guys I encounter riding around with the G on the bumper of their cars, I think, who’s really in who’s club??

Since when are they letting Negroes into this Clandestine fraternity that has involved the most powerful men in the history of the western world??!

Are the Black Masons accepted by their White Counterparts? Are they even practicing the same stuff??!

All of that is to say, why the Hell would a rapper be inducted in the same league as the Colgates, and Carnegies? And since when are Women given equal power in these Societies?

Too much analyzing can be dangerous. Not analyzing enough can be detrimental.

My boy Brandon’s stance on this is that Niggas need something and someone to blame for their bad position in society, and since niggas are Notorious for not accepting responsibility for their failures, who better to blame than The Man? Or in this case, the Rich and successful.

Here’s an example of how intense the scrutiny has gotten…

There’s alot of truth in this clip, but still, any info can be slanted any way if you believe it enough.  So I guess the question is,

“Do You Believe?”

And since we can’t talk about Mr. Carter, without talking about Mrs. Carter,

Check this out;

http://www.petitiononline.com/badpick/petition.html

Beyonce playing Angela Davis??

AYFKM??!!

Where The Hell is Sex & The Chocolate City???!!

I know, I know

The most beloved section of this site has been mysteriously missing for the last 2 weeks.

Fear not faithful readers and dare I say Jaded believers in Love and empathizers (is that even a word? if not, I’m making it one!)) of the plight of the Single New York Female, our Favorite column will be back in Full effect next Tuesday Via the Renaissance Woman, the Infamous TDJ herself.

I know you’ve been wondering what was the decision with ol’ boy on the train? did your comments influence her thoughts? what new challenge does our personal Joan Clayton/Carrie Bradshaw face in this New Year and what craziness did the Holiday season bring her way? Can you even relate?

I think you can. So be a little bit more patient, bear with us, because we’re about to Double…Hell, maybe even Triple up on the entries This Tuesday.

All the Chocolate one can take for a week.

And we’ll promise not to do this to you again….

Bye Bye Veen!

Okay, This is Painful. Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my Hooptie of 1 year, that like all of my cars, was named after one of my sisters. In this case, the car being named after the Youngest of my Older sisters, Melvina. What an ordeal. You could imagine the experience, waiting for the tow truck in the cold with my pops and my boy Brandon, only to take it to a garage blocks away and have the mechanic tell me to ‘Kiss my baby goodbye’.

That’s what I get for buying a used American car. A Pontiac at that! They don’t even make those anymore!

I bought it around this time last year for CHEAP price, So I guess that I got my Year’s worth. I don’t feel so bad. I didn’t like it as much as the Toyota I had before that which was 9 years younger. That car was given to my mother for her birthday last year (Think I’m gonna send her to Disney World This year), and it’s STILL running might I add. As a Matter of fact, I didn’t like this car much at all.

It’s American for one, which Iam against, it’s GREEN for God’s sake!, and I had to put way more money into fixing up little things over the course of last year than I ever had to when I was driving Rasheedah, the Toyota(yeah, that’s my other sister – the reliable one).

So maybe naming it Veen, the nickname for the sister who used to be my favorite, was appropriate. At one point in time, me and Veen were as thick as thieves. She is partly responsible for putting me on to hip-hop, along with my cousins.

In her 17 -20 year old days, she was my female rolemodel. How cool was she with her Generation X hairstyles and fashion sense. I thought she was the missing member of En Vogue!

She is and always will be the coolest.

But things change, people get older and grow apart.

the more I noticed how aggy she would be at things, I realized she’s pretty moody – which doesn’t mix well with me. The unpredictable Veen made me keep my distance, and once she gave birth to my nephew, mom-mode killed all the last free-spirited Jersey girl swag left.

Much like this car, which looked cool at first and had all kinds of bells and whistles that I got comfortable with quickly, I discovered how out of nowhere, it would flip and have some random thing occur with it, from stiff steering wheels, to spontaneously breaking brakes. It had it’s time to be cool…

So having that said, New Year, New Gear.

My sister stays forever. The car doesn’t.

Peace.

Bye Bye Veen!

Back Like I Never Left! Kwanzaa Edition

Ok,

you’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been since December 31st and where the Hell the posts have been (or…you just stopped coming to the site).

Well my friends,

I put your regularly scheduled program on hold for the sake of enlightening you on some Kwanzaa stuff that you might not have known about. True indeed, it wasn’t the most extensive Kwanzaa blogging out there, but it got the job done. I also admit that I was being kinda lazy because I’ve been diligently NOT being lazy, working on my First ever original music project, coming this year at the end of Spring.

But just so you have an idea of what my experience was like, here’s some footage of the most pivotal day of the Kwanzaa celebration and how I brought it in.

I took the oppurtunity to introduce my Nephew Ramale (a.k.a. Winnie) to this Holiday by way of his Auntie and the homegirl of all homegirl’s: Indigo.

I didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa the way I wanted to, so this was the only day that there was really a concerted effort to observe and carry things out. I wound up living the principles and days vicariously through the blog, and through you in the process (yeah, probably a bit more laziness on my part).

This all went down at the dope Duplex apartment that she inhabits with our Resident renaissance chic, the Notorious TDJ and the unofficial 16’s Candles PR person Ms. Daryl (yeah, that’s a woman – I call her Penny cause she looks like Young Janet Jackson), in the magical Planet of Brooklyn. We affectionately refer to this crib as The Living Single pad, because of the Dynamic of the uhmm…single ladies and their differing personalities all co-existing in Brooklyn. Make sense now? Yeah, yeah, I know they’re missing a 4th – sue us! Geez!! But I guess this make me Kyle in this equation??

Ironically enough, I’m more like the male version of Maxine (Pause), the damn near 4th roomate who’s place you never see, but is frequently involved in the goings-on to provide sarcastic and colorful commentary. Not to mention, I’m always down to leave their place with something I didn’t come in with – ya dig?

Who am I to ruin tradition??!

So yes, I took my 5 Year old nephew all the way to another Borough after 8:30 P.M. on a cold December 26th night in 2009, only to return him home to his mother at 3:30 A.M. in the morning. Why?? because that’s how bad I wanted to put the boy on to some sense of culture DAMMIT!! And he wasn’t going to sleep anyway.

Ask Indigo who still had energy to ask about playing video games that night and you’ll see I lost 8 times over in that battle. But ask who enjoyed an hour long nap on the couch before hitting the road and I win!!

So here goes;

With TDJ being MIA on said Night, Indigo played Den Mother, Hostess, and Leader to our makeshift family to make this Umoja special for my nephew. He helped her clean greens (not Collards) as she cooked and prepared our food. I was put on dish duty – which I HATE,  and we all shared reading duties as we ran through definitions, origins and motivations behind our items and principles for the night.

Indigo’s little Sister, The gangster, Megan (a.k.a. Sis) was also in the building (literally).

You really don’t have to watch this whole video, because it’s long and I couldn’t edit it and after a while it just drags on and seems like something that you feel like you weren’t supposed to be watching from a blog.

But pay attention to the funny parts like Winnie counting everyone as Brown except for Daryl. And how the Hell did Daryl get Auntie Status on her first night of meeting him??

(“Auntie Daryl”?? – not quite)

or the never-ending one-liners from Winnie like, “I give up”, Or my favorite, compliment-fishing- pat-on-the-back “I’m Smart!”.

And nevermind my scraggly appearance, It’s not about me..we did this for Kwanzaa.

Besides, it was a work Day!

Enjoy, and then we’re back to business. We’ll do it better next year.

http://www.vimeo.com/8585391

Happy New Year! – Final Kwanzaa Principle of the day – IMANI

This is it people!!

IMANI

Not just a cute name for little black girls, but the strongest Principle of  all of the 7.

Without this, we are nothing.  One of my favorite quotes begins “Faith is what you make it…”.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

With that, I thank you for taking this journey with me and I hope I have encouraged at least one person to take these principles to heart or even look into the Holiday and Kwanzaa celebration a little deeper.

Happy New Year!!