Category Archives: power

“The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” is the yearbook of the revolution

The Black Power Mixtape 1965-1975 is one of the most spectacularly moving documentaries of radical American history released in 2011, and is sure to be like nothing you’ve seen before. The documentary is composed of film shot by a Swedish news crew following the Black Power movement through the socially explosive era of the 60’s and 70’s. The news reels sat forgotten in a basement archival storage for over 30 years until Swedish documentary filmmaker Göran Olsson brushed off the dust. His resulting work won a Sundance Film Festival award for editing.

What I enjoyed about this documentary was the style. Man, was it cool. It takes the revolutionary spirit of those times and makes it contagious. You can’t help but feel yourself get caught up in the sense of urgency. I do admit, I was tempted several times to throw up my fist. The original Swedish crew takes the viewer deep into the Black Power movement by visiting the Black Panther headquarters in Oakland, the liberation rallies, Harlem ghettos, and prisons, to show the period in its rawest and most unapologetic form. The interviews are charged with the turmoil of a society divided by racial violence. Some of the un-politically correct statements are sure offend some viewers.  We get to hear directly from leaders in the revolution speak out for themselves in their manner that is so iconic to the 60’s and 70’s. There are appearances by civil rights giants such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver, and Stokely Charmichael.  Angela Davis’s interview is undeterred despite being conducted while incarcerated. Her fierce intellect still has the passion and power to move even the newest generation.

Don’t expect a concise depiction of the Black Power movement. As the name implies, it is more of a mixtape highlighting the movement’s greatest hits. The soundtrack itself is a mixtape of the soul, funk, and jazz that embodied the era. While many critiques dwell on the lack of historical cohesion, they miss the point that this documentary is supposed to function similar to a time capsule. Either way, the Black Power movement is far too vast and complex of an American phenomenon to ever be explained in 100 minutes. Even the interviewees towards the end urge people to read because “Knowledge is king.” The only problem I had with the film was that the modern commentators were almost exclusively recording artist rather than political activist, social scientist, or university professors. Yet the film is never lacking in message.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is a super stylish film that makes it fashionable to be intelligent again. It’s a motion picture scrapbook put together by this generation from the memories and history of another. This history is a troubled history, it will engage you directly. You can’t help but feel activated to continue the struggle for a more equal world. I hope you watch and enjoy this great documentary. Let me end this review by honoring all those in the fighting against fascism everywhere. Power to the people.

Don’t Wait for Permission

It’s been several weeks since I released my book and entered the indie writing world. Discovering the indie writing community has been a beautiful thing. It gave me a feeling similar to when I first found out about Hip-hop, Rock, and counter culture. “What! This has been here all this time?” When I first heard about indie writers I imagined a bunch of turtleneck wearing intellectuals drinking overpriced/undersized cappuccinos, yammering on about irrelevant topics, and snapping their fingers whenever somebody delivered an extra steamy pile of verbal bullshit. Once again, stereotypes had failed me. The indie crowd isn’t just a bunch of beatniks hanging around Starbucks. It’s a diverse community which sort of reminds me of a college campus. There are the different camps, nerds, jocks, hipsters, punks, loud minorities, sitting at their spots.

I knew I had to network if I wanted to get my book out there. At first, Facebook sounded like an obvious route. I created a page and badgered all my friends to join. Their words of encouragement we’re greatly appreciated but after a while I began to notice that most people don’t read books. “I’m happy for you, but reading isn’t really my thing.” Although I’ve suspected this much, it was shocking to me nonetheless. I can understand if somebody doesn’t like reading a sort of genre, but all of them? In America this type of attitude doesn’t turn heads. Which is funny because if you tell someone you don’t watch TV, they look at you as if you’re Amish. They say the average person watches 2-3 solid months worth of television a year. Considering there’s only 12 of them in a set, I rather do something else.

Let’s see what else is on.

Yet, the reading community has inspired me to shake my head too. The bookworms are a lot like the music listeners. Most people have horrible taste. First of all, if you’re a grown adult and the only books you’ve read are Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey, backhand yourself now. But at least they’re reading something. There was a time when, for certain individuals, teaching and learning to read was severely punishable. Even now there are places where having a wrong type of book can cost you your life. Why is that? Because of what’s contained in books, ideas that have taken people a lifetime to arrive at. And those ideas exist in relation to other people’s philosophies, which in turn create an intellectual web that is deeply human. Some people fear this.

I understand that a lot of people are completely turned off to reading. Public schools fail greatly in turning students into avid readers. I didn’t pick up a book for almost a year after graduating high school because I thought all books were boring and useless to me. Then I was lucky enough to pick up writers such as Malcolm X, Audre Lorde, Charles Bukowski, and plenty more. Thanks to these greats minds I’m increasingly connected to the great human spirit that drives us to continually evolve. My mind is like a raging river that’s never going to stop. Without books, it would be reduced to a murky creek. If you’re reading this, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t let the anti intellectual climate bring you down. Express your ideas through whatever means possible. The next time you see another friend becoming a zombie in front of the TV, hand him a book. You’d be surprised how it can change some people’s lives. 

Photo Credits in order of appearance:

http://indiewritingblog.com/

http://www.hangthebankers.com/nielsen-sued-for-billions-over-allegedly-manipulated-tv-ratings/

http://www.wpi.edu/offices/ih/diversity.html

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Blubber Island Survival Guide #2

Please follow these directions.

If you’re reading this, you have successfully not died. Congratulations. The first segment of the “Blubber Island Survival Guide” focused on the key aspects of the Blubber Island universe. Today we’re taking a more sociological approach. Blubber Island is a highly complex, inter-dimensional environment, so it’s really easy for things to get mixed up and turn a little screwy. Don’t panic. We here at the Blubber Island Survival Institute have the best and brightest minds working around the clock to bring you the most cutting-edge information in anti-deceasing technology.

Death has to get through him first.

The number one thing to remember: Blubber Island is bubbling with Chaos. Randomness is at every turn. There is no sense of direction nor rock to stand on. The degree of shear senseless is enough to drive the average person bat-shit crazy. When you’re not getting chased by zombies with exploding heads, you’ll be dealing with an assortment of colorful characters. Let’s take a look!

“Can I fluff your pillow?”

The first kind of people you’ll run into are weirdos. At first glance, they seem like normal people–and then they speak. Unless you want to find out what a handkerchief dipped in chloroform smells like, avoid these dudes like the Plague. Blubber Island is basically a weirdo-hive. There’s no such thing as “normal” people. These are the “normal” people.

“Aliens!”

Next up are crazy bums and hobos. These characters claim to have god-like insight into everything going on. The strange part is that sometimes they’re right on the money. Other times, they’re just your run-of-the-mill crazy-ass bums. Whether you choose to take their advice is like spinning the Wheel of Chance. Statistics have shown a 100-to-1 odds of “crazy bum talk” versus “info that will save your life”. Think of these guys as walking casinos of knowledge.

“I’m gonna kick your ass and get away with it.”

Cops and any other type of security figures. These guys thrive on two things: beating the living daylights out of you, and, well… that’s it really. Hocked up on testosterone and countless hours of MMA Youtube clips, they’re ready to break your ribs before you get a chance to break the law. You’d have better luck trying to talk a rabid grizzly bear into riding a unicycle than convincing these guys you have rights. PCP will come in handy.

“Is that a free cookie?”

Next on the list are Greñudos, Latin for “stoner punks”. Highly intoxicated, free of all care, and totally lost, these will be your allies. Constantly keeping their ears to the street (mostly due to binge drinking), they are an abundant source of information. Unfortunately, their insatiable appetite for marijuana will cause them to forget most of it. Seeking out these lumbering pot heads seems counterintuitive, yet believe us, they will not let you down (sort of).

“Hold on a second, I need to murder you.”

Next up are homicidal Neo-Nazi with heroin withdrawals. If we need to explain why you should stay away from this guy, kill yourself now.

“No, you can’t hug us.”

Lastly are entities from another dimension. These ones are hard to find. However, if you do run into one, it means something big is about to happen. They’re not going to transverse through the space-time fabric to ask if you’re on Twitter. There is virtually zero information known about these strange travelers. All we can say is that some wish to help you along and others want to stick your head on a pole. It’s sort of a toss up, so you’ll have to play it by ear.

Not today, buddy.

Once again you have helped yourself keep that pesky Grim Reaper off your shoulder. We’re positive you’ll meet all kinds of people not listed here, but we’re closing up shop. The key is to keep a sharp eye and a groovy mind. Remember this blog when running into these characters, and you’ll be A-OK. Actual results may vary.  See you next time, and remember our motto: “No Dying Allowed!”

Photo Credits in order of appearance

1.  http://www.heyhotshot.com/blog/2010/06/10/dont-die-limited-edition-book-prints-by-justin-james-reed/

2. http://directgeek.com/

3. http://fashionnetworkseattle.com/fashion-blog/good-bad-ugly/good-bad-ugly-celebrity-mug-shots/

4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevindyer/5719860925/

5. http://prof77.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/police-steroid-drug-abuse/

6. Random stoner

7. http://www.brobible.com/life/slideshow/face-tattoo-mug-shots-of-2011

8.http://themovieprojector.blogspot.jp/2011/09/cmba-guilty-pleasures-movie-blogathon.html

9. http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/4-places-where-dying-is-not-allowed.html