Girls with Gold Teeth

>> Thursday, December 23, 2010

There's something I like that I'm not supposed to. I like girls with gold teeth.

Not just any ol' grill, but open-faced gold ones. Something happens with that gold twinkle hits my eyes.

When the Trending Topic landed in my Twitter timeline, I posted: #secretturnon Women with open-face gold ones. hahaha.

It was funny in the moment. I later went through my retweets for the month and came across this message: "My Kryptonite: girls with "open face gold ones.""

At this point, I don't know what prompted that first tweet, but there is clearly a pattern of confused desire.

Thinking back to where this habit may have formed, I have four theories:

  1. An elder in the community, a grandma, or somebody had gold teeth. My affinity for them has led to my perceived attraction to shorties with the grill
  2. When grills were poppin' in my high school days, I remember some pretty fly young ladies who had gold teeth. Maybe, I have a delayed/latent attraction
  3. Maybe it was Halle Berry in BAPS? 
  4. There's something I associate with the gold teeth that I'm feeling.
Sometimes we have ideas in our heads that create certain associations. I'm not sure what I associate gold teeth with. It's not wealth. Lord knows, although Glenn Beck and Alex Jones hawk gold on their shows, a grill is not the best investment.

Although there is something distinctly African about grills, I don't necessarily associate gold teeth with only Black folks. Besides the fact that young Latinos, South East Asians and White Folks get gold teeth too (in the Bay Area), I've regularly seen older Asians with gold teeth.

Unfortunately, Google Images doesn't appear to provide any justification for my fashionable fetish. Every single search combination I've tried brings up Flavor Flav. Not a turn-on.

Gold teeth is a form of facial adornment. It's definitely gotten way too out of hand. Then again, if I had disposal income, I might do that. But I'll get braces before gold teeth. (Don't worry ladies, I'm keeping the gap).

It's not something I see often these days. Then again, I don't travel down South as frequently as I used to. But even in Oakland, there were some woman--of good pedigree--rocking the grillz. But in this economy, it's not a wise investment.

But it's still cute.

After watching this video, I think I think I changed my mind.

Photo Credit:,, © Paul Barton/Corbis, Grillz Video


Oakland legend - Chappell Hayes - Environmental Justice advocate, West Oakland leader

>> Monday, December 20, 2010

Photo: EBRPD

This weekend, I visited the beautiful Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. This little known gem in West Oakland has a fascinating geographic history. Instead of getting into that, or how the East Bay Regional Park District will cease to operate this park in 2011, I will focus this blog on one man's legacy.

As I've studied more and more about the history of Oakland, environmental justice and other land use issues in Oakland, I learn more about the role Black folks have played in defining the the East Bay. I vaguely recall hearing the name, Chappell Hayes before.

This summer, I took a group of students from Oakland Freedom School to 14th and Mandela Parkway, where I talked about the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. As part of an ongoing education series for my "Ida B. Wells" class, I spoke about environmental racism. I framed this around the issue of where the Cypress Freeway was built.

Initially a viaduct to mitigate traffic to the Bay Bridge, in 1957, the Cypress Freeway was built, cutting an increasingly segregated West Oakland in half. West Oakland residents fought the creation of a freeway through their community, though to no avail.

In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake brought down the Cypress, killing over three dozen people. West Oakland residents, though surviving the depressing Reagonomic era of violent, crack covered violence, came to the rescue of many commuting motorist passing their own neighborhoods overhead.

In the 1990s, West Oakland fought against the rebuilding of the freeway in their community. Considered the leading advocate of relocating the freeway, Chappell Hayes.

Photo: Pinetree3 via Panaramio

The observation Tower above is named in honor of Mr. Hayes. Below is a photo of a plaque located at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

Below is the plaques description. Breathe in Peace Mr. Hayes.

"A community activist and environmentalist, Chappell Hayes was the driving force behind the Clean Air Alternative Coalition, which successfully convinced Caltrans to re-route the new Cypress freeway away from West Oakland neighborhoods. Mr. Hayes developed programs for at-risk youth and help to redefine environmental issues to include broader urban concerns such as poverty and racism. As an entrepreneur, community leader, member of many boards and commissions, and devoted community builder, Mr. Hayes raised the consciousness of West Oakland residents and neighbors, including the Port of Oakland, to work for clean air and environmental justice."

Below is a 2004 Oakland Tribune article about the dedication to Hayes, by his nemesis, the Port of Oakland.

Visionary Hayes Honored by PortSunday, January 25, 2004
by Paul T. Rosynsky, Staff Writer

Oakland ~ During his brief 45 years of life, Chappell Hayes inspired hundreds and changed the lives of thousands with his stoic leadership of West Oakland's never-ending fight for environmental justice.
As an outspoken critic of governmental policies that favored industrial development over community cohesiveness, Hayes stood as a beacon of hope for thousands of disenfranchised residents who neither had the means nor the knowledge to fight against the destruction of their neighborhood.

So it was fitting Saturday, exactly 10 years after Hayes' death, that his nemesis, the Port of Oakland, dedicated its prized environmental achievement to the man who made it happen.

In an emotionally stirring ceremony, more than 100 family members and friends, including his wife, City Council member Nancy Nadel, and daughter, Sele Nadel-Hayes, helped the port turn a new observation tower at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park into a monument celebrating Hayes' life and achievements.

"The naming of the observation tower is very fitting for Chappell," Nadel said, wrapping up a two-hour dedication ceremony. "With his feet on earth and head in the clouds, he served as an inspiration to me and Sele. Now, he has the ability to inspire us all to infinity."

Hayes, who died of cancer in 1994, is credited for helping West Oakland begin its long and continuing battle against polluting industries and the governments that support them.

With a grassroots campaign that tapped the unused pool of West Oakland residents, Hayes successfully fought various initiatives and projects, which many said would have destroyed an already struggling neighborhood.

Hayes fought against construction of a new Cypress Freeway through the center of West Oakland, forced the port to spend millions on environmental initiatives and helped get like-minded residents elected to organizations throughout the Bay Area.

All the while, he worked with West Oakland youth showing them a life outside of poverty and violence and teaching them how to make their voice heard.

"He shaped me into who I am today," said a tearful Anthony McNeal, a former drug dealer who became Hayes' campaign manager. "Chappell Hayes, to me, is like the father I never had and I mean that. Today, I just want to tell him some of the things I have accomplished."

Those include a 28-year marriage, raising a daughter now attending college and governor's award for saving people trapped on collapsed I-880 freeway during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Others had similar stories of Hayes who's most memorable line, "It's not over until we win," was repeated throughout the ceremony.

"Chappell always worked for this community, he worked night and day," said Ellen Wyrick Parkinson, a long-time ally of Hayes. "If he was here today, I would love to tell him that we got it done. I can see we made a difference."

Port officials decided to name the tower after Chappell two years ago after West Oakland residents, who helped design the new park, came up with the idea.

And with this stunning views of the San Francisco skyline and its proximity to both the environment and the port's maritime operation, officials thought it was the perfect tribute.

"It's a magical place where the sky meets the Bay, while standing here you can see the pulse of the Bay and the nature that uses it," said Port Commission President John Protopappas. "How symbolic it is of us to name the tower after a visionary. This tower watches over Oakland as a sentinel and a gateway to the city."


PETA investigation reveals Land O'Lakes' deplorable cow conditions

>> Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another reason ... to go Vegan

Downed Cows Left to Suffer
for Land O' Lakes.


Photography, review awarded at JACC conference

>> Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was excited to learn that the Laney Tower staff brought back ten awards at the NorCal Journalism Association for Commnunity Colleges (JACC) conference at San Jose State last weekend.

Among the awards, the Tower also received the JACC's General Excellence Award. It is the first time since I was editor. Major props to current Editor-in-Chief Tracey Tate, the prolific blogger behind

I won two awards this time that I am very proud of; First Place for "News Photo" and Third Place for "Critical Review." This is the second time I was awarded first place at NorCal for a News Photo.

When I would look at JACC contest results, I always wondered just what people won for. Well, here are the entries that won.

News Photo
Students protest, shut down Oakland freeway for March 4 'Day of Action'

The photo above was taken during the March 4 Day of Action in Defense of Education. After a rally at Laney College, march to downtown Oakland, and rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza, a group of protesters hit the streets. The group eventually ended up on the freeway and over 150 were arrested. I call them the "Nimitz 150."

Critical Review
This award I am particularly proud of. Although I won an award for News Story and Meritous Award for an Enterprise Story about work-study disparities at Laney College, I had never won for my opinion or arts stories. Until now.

My review of Vagina Monologues at Laney College, titled, "If these (vaginal) walls could talk" was one of my favorite stories that I've written for the Tower. With such a sensitive topic, I knew that I had to enter with care. I had fun and thought it was an interesting twist that a man was writing the story.

As the son of a former Arts Editor for the California Voice, I look forward to writing more about art in the near future. This was great encouragement.

Finally, along with three amazing people I've met at Laney, I share an award for Photo Essay collaboration. Photos by Dan Figueroa (, Elijah Nouvelage and I were compiled by former Tower Editor-in-Chief Angelica Carapia into a great photo essay about March 4.

I don't have all the specific photos, but you can see all of them within the following video. The song, "Chop from the Top" is Laney College's March 4 anthem.

Shout out to Burt Dragin, adviser to the Tower. Keep up the great work!


I Got Grapes!

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A few years ago, Bay Area artist Nump came out with the song, "I got Grapes!" It became a local weed anthem of sorts.

"You got purple? I got grapes."

Grapes taste great

No. I don't smoke. I don't know where to get it either. But I do know where to get some grapes; the Farmer's Market.

And thanks to me randomly walking by a meeting for the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan meeting at Laney College, I got food for my whole class.

I got grapes!


15 Songs About Rain I Like

>> Sunday, October 24, 2010

A lot of artists have made songs about Rain. Madonna's "Rain", Mariah Carey's "Through the Rain", . One song about rain name drops "Songs About Rain".

Most of the songs associate the rain with pain. That's why, "I can't stand the rain" has been covered so many times. Artists like Eruption, Seal, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner all sing, they "Can't Stand the Rain."

Hip Hop has many tracks about rain, too.

Of course, Missy Elliott's Supa Dupa Fly "The Rain" (Can't Stand the Rain). Mobb Deep and Lil Kim's "Quiet Storm" evokes the rain in the beat, but it's not a song about rain. Will Smith and Jill Scott's "The Rain" and Shaq and Notorious B.I.G. "Can't Stop the R.E.I.G.N.".

Fat Joe and Lil Wayne's "Make it Rain" is a different type of rain all together. Of course, Mac Dre's "Raining Game" was considered, but it was more about "sauce" than "water" dropping from the sky.

There are way too many songs about rain to list here. Here are 15 I like. Hope you enjoy them too!

15. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming" by Jimi Hendrix

14. "It Never Rains in Southern California" by Albert Hammond

13. "Songs About Rain" by Gary Allan

12. "Rain" by Creed

11. "Kiss the Rain" by Billie Myers

10. "Purple Rain Drops" by Stevie Wonder

9. "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses

8. "Please Don't Stop the Rain" by James Morrison

7. "Kisses in the Rain" by John Pizzarelli

6. "Candy Rain" by Soul IV Real

5. "It Never Rains in Southern California" by Tony! Toni! Tone!

4. "Here Comes the Rain Again" by Eurythmics

3. "I Can't Stand the Rain" by Ann Peebles

2. "Can You Stand the Rain" by New Edition

1. "The Rain" by Oran Juice Jones

Are there any songs I missed?


We be to Woman What 'Key be to Lock'

Facebook graphic about double standards
There are many double-standards in our society. There are too many instances where behavior is acceptable for someone, or some group, but not acceptable for others.

One of the biggest seems to be along gender lines. There are many behaviors deemed acceptable for men, but not for women. There are also some things that are acceptable for women to do, but not for me. Nowhere do these double standards appear greater than when they relate to sex.

My brother CAPS recently posted the graphic above on his Facebook page. It is a funny explanation of why it is acceptable for men to have plenty of women, but it is inappropriate for women too.

A women - presumably - posted the following status message on Facebook (punctuation added):

"It is odd how society sees things. Let's say a guy sleeps with all these girls, "He's the man!" or a stud," she writes. "But if a girl does, she's a total slut or whore. Is society sexist?"

Here's how one man responded.

"Well, think about it this way. If a key can open a bunch of locks, it's viewed as a Master Key, and is awesome to have," Brandon writes. "But if a lock is opened by a lot of different keys, well, that's a pretty shitty lock of you ask me."

Photo Credit: Photobucket user Aaronbeach_2007

But does the metaphor go deeper?

The purpose of a lock is to protect something of importance, of value. In this instance, the lock being the woman, more explicitly, her vagina. And the man's penis is the key.

But what is the purpose of opening the lock?

The purpose of opening a lock is like going to an ATM. You either want to withdraw, deposit or cash, or check your balance. Too many people are involved in casual sex. They just putting they key in the lock to see if it will fit.

But just because you can fit your key in the lock, it doesn't mean that it will open. Even some "Master Keys" can fit inside locks that they cannot open. Likewise, just because your penis fits inside, it does not mean you have truly opened the lock. Because a woman is not just a physical thing. A woman is a spiritual vessel.

The vagina is the passageway to eternal life.

When one looks at the Kemetic symbol of the Ankh (right), you are looking at the symbolic representation of man and woman, or a lock and a key.

Atop, the circle and the horizontal line represents the woman's opening. Below, the staff represents the man's shaft.

It is through the union of man and woman that the child is born. This creation of life, perpetuated generation after generation, is eternal life.

We be to women what key be to lock.

So, men may think it is cool to go around putting your key in every lock it fits into, that's the best way to defile your key. If you forcing a key into holes it don't belong in, there's how you ruin the teeth. When the teeth of a key is filed down, it will no longer open the key it was made to fill.

Likewise, a lock that has a bunch of keys and other crap put inside it will no longer be useful. Have you ever seen someone put gum, glue or even rubber cement in a lock?

Brothers: What key is on your key chain? What does your key open?

Sisters: What is your lock protecting? Who has the key?


One Way to Ride Free on AC Transit (And Piss off all the Passengers)

>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another entry for the AC Transit Diaries...or the "Ain't that a..." Series

Riding the 1R bus from Broadway to Madison (downtown Oakland to Laney College mission) and this man gets on the bus, refusing to pay his fare.

"My car broke down," he says, arguing with a passenger who asks him not to slow down our Rapid bus. "No, you get off the bus."

"I paid my mothaf*cking fare," responds the oh-so-masculine lady eating sunflower seeds.

The bus drivers turns off the engine and won't go until he pays or exits. Despite pleas from passengers, the man refuses. A youngster – who 10 seconds before was plotting to "drop some ice in the aisle so someone slips" says he's going to "peg" the man with one of the ice cubes from his drink. I stand up and walk towards the front. Many passengers at this point have started to get off the bus for the 40 behind us.

"Any of y'all gone help me escort this man off the bus?" I ask. "But not you," I say, pointing to the young man with the oversized Cookie Monster shirt with a cup full of ice. "I just need two people max to remove him. Or, y'all can wait for the Sheriff."

No passenger takes my invitation to "remove" him, and many leave for the bus that just arrived.

"I'm disabled, you're required by law to give me a ride," he says to the driver. He continues arguing with the lady in the front.

I decide not to forcibly remove him. He was looking a bit funky for me to touch him. More importantly, I was feeling too aggressive to do a move like that. All it would've took was one false move from him and, as they say, it would be "cookies."

I might as well tweet this, I say to myself.

As I go to the front, a young man getting on the bus asks, "Does he need money for bus fare?"

I hop back on the bus. "What makes you think you special? We all paid? Why you ain't gotta pay," says some lady in a nurses smock.

I told the man, "All he had to do was ask for bus fare if you needed it."

"No, I'm entitled to ride free, by law," he said.

"By law? What law?" asks the bus driver.

Forget this! I get off the bus and start walking to Laney. As I pass EBMUD, I hear a bus approaching behind me. It's the same 1R steamrolling Eastbound.

And "Mr. I Ride Free" is sitting up front!

Ain't that a ...? I got off the bus and this fool free riding? Where the Sheriffs asses at?

This is what really pisses me off. Where was this dude in 2005 when AC Transit raised fares? Where was he in 2009 when AC Transit raised fares? Where was he when they cut service? (Not to mention Round 2 later this month and Round 3 at the end of the year).

If his ass was protesting fare hikes and service cuts, I wouldn't be mad. But no, you gone inconvenience everybody else because your jalopy broke down.

Chalk it up as another, "One time on the bus" story. But I am wondering:

If you were there, what would you have done?


Yo Tengo Mi Libro Para La Clase De Espanol (I have my Spanish book)

I finally have the textbook for my Spanish class.

The class started on August 31. And it's mid-October.

But like many students, I didn't have the money for the book at the time. When I did, I met someone who said they'd let me use the book for the semester. Unfortunately, it took over a month to connect with them.

Meanwhile, I had to go to the library and use the reserve. The cold part is, due to budget cuts, the Laney College library is closed on Saturdays now. So, when I'm not in class...I'm at work. When I'm at school, I'm in class.

I wasn't paying $100 for a Dos Mundos. Especially since I can just take $100, spread it out over 6 months in the Fruitvale District or the Mission and learn Spanish there. Buy some mangos here, some music there. All the while talking with the people. That's how to learn Spanish.

Actually, that is one of the two ways researchers say we learn language. "Through a subconscious process called language acquisition -- like "picking up" Spanish while living in Mexico or Spain." Then again, going to the taco truck is nowhere near the equivalent of going to a Spanish speaking country.

So, back to square one. Why did I wait over a month to purchase a book?

That's because the textbook industry is a racket. Publishers get paid. Bookstores get paid. Faculty get paid. Students get pimped.

Now, the question I must ask is: Was saving the money worth waiting a month to have a book to use at your convenience?

Well, I can study when I wish now. And my professor will be pleased to see me with a book en la manana.

"Permisso, professora. Tengo mi libro."

If she's not, I'll go back to Don Francisco:


Stroller Missing Baby at Laney College

>> Monday, October 18, 2010

Somewhere out there, a baby is missing his stroller.

En route to class this morning, I came across this sight: An abandoned baby carriage near the Lake Merritt BART Station.

Hopefully, a baby is missing a stroller, and not the opposite.


Where is your MTC Commissioner?

As my interests in journalism, transportation and land use converge more and more, GIS tools are becoming much more fascinating. I haven't started my studies, but figure I can use some cool tools along the way.

Who represents you on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)?

Using, I created a map of where commissioners on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission list their address. Considering that transit spending is separate and unequal in the Bay Area, and many transit decisions favor rail expansion over benefiting low-income, urban neighborhoods, this map easily contextualizes those decisions.


'Masquerading' as a sane individual

>> Sunday, October 17, 2010

I was recently accused of "masquerading as an impartial journalist".

Well, I do impart knowledge, partially because of all the ignorance out there.

But I never masqueraded...until now:

I promise I'm done. The photo was a funny moment I had with my mom on Telegraph in Berkeley.

Now if I can only find a picture of me dressed like an "errand boy."

Alas, I have better things to worry about. Like midterms.


Mr. T says Pull Yo Pants Up, Fool

>> Saturday, October 16, 2010

The anti-saggin campaign (aka "Pull Yo Fucking Pants Up Movement") is about to pick up steam again.

Mr. T recently recorded a commercial for Snickers' Get Some Nuts spot called, "Street Fool."

The video depicts Mr. T on some Big Brotheresque, behind a closed circuit camera control booth telling some young man in the street to pull his pants up.

Growing up, I was conditioned to wear my pants around my waist. OG's used to tell us things like, "Saggin is for faggots" and "Saggin started in jail. That's how they could tell you was someone's bitch."

Besides that, there is no fight or flight when you saggin. You can't run or kick no one in the face.

In recent years, there appears to be an intensified media struggle by older Black men to get these youngstas to pull they pants up.

First, Oakland Black Arts Movement veteran writer Marvin X put out, "Pull Yo Pantz Up Fada Black Prez." The collection of essays encourage young Black men (and women) to pull their pants up and respect themselves, especially with a Black president in the White House.

Secondly, civil rights veteran "The General" Larry Platt came out with "Pants on the Ground" in January 2010. The American Idol contestant create an internet hit telling young cats to pull their pants up.

Lastly, we've known it for years, but "Saggin" spell backwards is "N-I-G-G-A-S." So will you fools pull yo pants up already?


Changing the Public Education Paradigm

This is a fascinating video about education. The lecture and animation discusses the creation of public education and it's relationship to economics and culture.

Sometimes we have to skip the long introduction and get straight to it.

The section that discusses how we are medicating our children with Ritalin because they don't want to listen to the boring shit we talk about is right on point.

These children growing up now are at risk of being overstimulated. They are exposed to so much through electronic technology. Then we put them in stale ass classrooms with dusty chalk erasers and white boards they're allergic to.

After teaching at Oakland Freedom School this summer, I see the intense value in collaborative learning. Like the video stresses, in the community at large, people might call it collaboration;" yet in school, it is called copying or cheating. Unfortunately, this selfish practice – although it had the intention of developing the individual – does not bode well for the global village in which our survival depends on our ability to work together.

That is why it is important to go back further than the enlightenment to view educational models that transmit a people's knowledge from one generation to the next. What did the Indigenous People's of America do? What did the ancient Kemites (Egyptians) do? What did ancient Chinese do?

What can we do now? (Peralta Reads)

Because it will take us working together to save Public Education.


Video: 'California, Help us Save the Water'

>> Thursday, October 14, 2010

This morning in my Geography class, we got to watch movies.

Screenshot of "Save the Water" by Qwest.

Besides the amazing graphics in Earth: The Biography, the highlight was a music video created by a student that took the class last fall.

"Save the Water," by Qwest (aka Wesley McAfree) is a catchy ballad about saving one of Earth's most precious resources; water. "Water is so precious, we use it for everything," Qwest sings. "To wash our clothes, cook our food, and keep our bodies clean."

Filmed live on location at the Lake Merritt Channel – and even in Mark Rauzon's Geography class – the video should be on East Bay MUD's website.

Besides the fact that I go to Laney College (where the video was filmed) and I'm currently enrolled in the course the video was produced for, there's another symbolic message for me.

Seeing a Black man singing about a major environmental justice issue – access to water – in a HipHop style video featuring a group of Black men is all apart of reframing the 'Green Movement." The Environmental Movement, with its origins in the Conservation efforts of folks like John Muir, is largely seen as a "White Only" movement.

Green is not white. We can all be green, live green, go green, truly!

And I don't care if you're Black, Brown, Yellow, or Blue with Orange Stripes, you need water to survive.

Not only does this video explain California's water crisis and the need to preserve water, but, for me, it highlights the virtues of community college education. A place where learning is innovative, creative and superlative.

Of course, I'd be we can't forget Mos Def's classic, "New World Water."


Happy Indigenous People's Day

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The exploits of Christopher Columbus led to the genocide of the First People of the Americas, but it foreshadowed the Black Holocaust.

Considering that America is the greatest purveyor of violence in this world, it is no surprise that many are celebrating Columbus Day.

Not on my blog.

Peace to the Indigenous People who cared for American colonists. Respect to the Indigenous People who were slaughtered under the guise of Manifest Destiny. Peace to Indigenous People who are my ancestors too.

And as a Bay Area native, peace to the Ohlone people.

And with banks and courts closed yesterday, there is no greater symbol of the tools used to oppress both Indigenous and African people. The financial markets and the judicial system are two of the greatest domestic and international terror engines.



Laney College Classified Senate President calls student journalist 'errand boy'

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

It seems the saga continues. I recently received a very disturbing email.

Apparently, a staff person at Laney College did not like an article I wrote about a challenger for the Peralta Trustees Board.

The news article created some drama on campus and has even led the Political Action Committee of SEIU Local 1021 reconsider its endorsement of the candidate (Pending review of the facts my article presented).

But that reconsideration wasn't going to work for Classified Senate President David Reed, Outreach Specialist in the Office of Student Services at Laney College.

As an email chain discussing my article went out to staff members, Reed -- who many Peralta insiders say has been lobbying against the Area 3 incumbent -- began planted the myth that even the aforementioned candidate in question would broadcast herself.

On Thursday, October 7, David Reed, the Outreach Specialist in the Office of Student Services at Laney College sent out the following email message to classified staff:

"Interesting that none of you are asking why the errand boy of the status quo at Peralta is the one digging all this up, and what his and their agenda is.

Playing right in to their hands?"

-David Reed (October 7, 2010)

And they allege I'm the one launching a smear campaign.

As striking sanitation workers once said in Memphis, I Am A Man. Secondly, any review of my advocacy at the Peralta Colleges would suggest anything but status quo. I could post a long list of activities, but y'all know what's good. In fact, there's an article about me and my colleague regarding our efforts to "Change the Status Quo."

I'm just surprised that an employee of the college - and a member of Peralta's "Leadership Sucession Program" -- where I am a student would use district email on company time to demean me, a student. What sort of student service is that? Besides, that behavior is probably against board policy and the law.

I guess the sad part is he was always someone I wanted to work with, but never had the opportunity to do. From what I hear of him, we share similar interests. But since I'm an old 'errand boy', I suppose we'll never get to see.

Is this what my tax dollars are funding?


Gospel Version of Rick Ross' B.M.F.

>> Sunday, October 10, 2010

When people tell me that my photo looks like "Black Jesus," I usually tell them that phrase is redundant.

Since it is Sunday, I thought I'd give folks some gospel flavor. I came across this video (below) this evening and damn near fell out my chair.

Now, I certainly enjoyed my brother Ise Lyfe's version, but a gospel version of Rick Ross' "B.M.F." song? Internet classic.

Then again, I liked my Twitter version better.


Jazz the Poet on The Black Hour

After forever I finally got poet, artist and youth educator Jazz Monique Hudson on The Black Hour Internet Radio Show.

Both of us are former foster care youth, and we were co-counselors this past summer at Leadership Excellence's Camp Akili this past summer, representing the nation of Kemet (KMT). I've seen her grow as a poet, artist, woman and mother over the past few years -- since I used to host Holla Back at Eastside Arts Alliance -- and it was an honor to interview her.

Check out the interview on 9th Floor Radio.

Earlier this year, Youth Outlook did a feature on how Jazz Hudson inspires the multitudes.... See video, below.

Photo: Melissa Dale/9th Floor Radio


My P*ssy Smells Like Roses?

Upon a recommendation from my Sista Africa Saba the G (yeah, the one I fell in the Lake with), I'm listening to "My Pussy Smells Like Roses" on World Star Hip Hop.

What the hell is this world coming to?

I mean, I thought that R. Kelly video (not THAT one) in the closest was off the hook. But this is something else. What is wrong with Prince's little brother?


Journalist surrogate, launches smear campaign against challenger. Bullshit.

>> Saturday, October 9, 2010

To my regular readers, Excuse me for subjecting you to such drama, but this was the most appropriate forum of expression.

Photo by Reginald James. Laney College Trustees candidates forum.

I've been covering the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees election for a The Black Hour and other websites, including a blog I started dedicated to the Peralta Board of Trustees called, "The Peralta Report."

I knew that a recent story I wrote would upset some people. Maybe even make them want to attack me. Also published on, the story asks, "Does Monica Tell live in Oakland or Castro Valley?"

I'm sure you're wondering, "What made me think of that question?" I'm glad you asked.

In September, an anonymous comment was left on The Black Hour website, stating "Monica Tell lives in Castro Valley. Her parents live in the Fruitvale area."

I did what any journalist worth his salt would do: Google.

Monica Tell poses with Laney College student government members and staff at Laney College speak out. Photo: A Better Laney

I Googled, "Monica Tell, Castro Valley." After seeing the results, I decided to investigate.

I went to the Alameda County Assessor's Office with an address I found. Records indicated that she bought a property in Castro Valley in 2007, and that she claimed a homeowner's exemption. According to staff, that meant she lived there. I also looked up the address she listed on her Candidate's Statement. I looked up the other candidates as well, just to keep it solid.

I held the story for a week four days just to hear her side of the story. Mind you, I had been calling Ms. Tell to no avail since August to arrange an interview. By time I finally got to speak with her, the focus of my story had changed, understandably. Story published.

Days pass at school. Some folks tell me "good job"; Some because they follow journalism and others for whatever personal reason they may have.

And other folks giving the same phony ass smiles they always gave me.

Today, Ms. Tell posts this onto her Facebook:

"Masquerading as an impartial journalist, former Peralta student Trustee Reginald James recently launched a smear campaign against Monica Tell...James' maliciously suggests that Monica doesn't reside in the Trustee area she seeks to represent, and is trying to undermine her candidacy by widely disseminating a phony charge that he, alone, concocted."


"The smear campaign by incumbent Trustee Linda Handy and her surrogate is a desperate attempt to draw attention from the Peralta Trustees' record of failure," writes Tell.

I had a feeling that someone would suggest that I was in cahoots with Linda Handy. I mean, after all, we're both Black, right? But more critical, I was a student trustee for two years while Handy was on the board. So, of course I'd be her "surrogate," right?


In 2008, I blasted Linda Handy in the Laney Tower for disrespecting student representatives on the board of trustees and saying "their votes don't count." In fact, I predicted that someone would challenger her.

"2010 is not so far away that it would be difficult for one of you students to transfer, get their degree, and run for election in Area 3," I wrote. "Apparently, the same arrogance ousted (Brenda) Knight" in 2002.

And this year, I blasted Linda Handy again for co-orchestrating an extension of student trustee term limits.

And on top of all that, my closest ally while I was on the board was probably her nemesis.

Los siento, Ms. Tell. I'm no surrogate for Linda Handy. But if your handlers need to come at the messenger, here's a photo where I'm standing next to Linda Handy at Laney College. I'm sure it can be manipulated to prove that point.

Photo by Chi Au. 2006 Ribbon Cutting at Laney College Art Center.

And to think, I was about to add Ms. Tell as a friend on Facebook.

Disclosure: I did accept Linda Handy's friend request on Facebook.


Photo: College of Alameda and Laney College mascots meet the brain

This photo was a long time coming.

Many, many moons ago, while a member of student government, I had a vision of students at the College of Alameda not only supporting their athletic teams and being proud of their college. I also wanted to encourage students to volunteer in the community.

Dreams do come true. And a piece of that dream came true last night, at the College of Alameda vs. Laney College basketball game, when I took a photo with Eddie the Eagle and Cool E. Cougar.

When I was on student government at COA, I put together a proposal to get a mascot. That mascot was Cool E. Cougar (with an "E" for education). I was the first mascot, followed by my folks Jason (aka "Mouse"). When we left, Coolie ended up in a closet somewhere.

Meanwhile, now at Laney College pursuing Journalism, I brought a mascot there. Eddie the Eagle.

Eddie had a little more support at Laney College because the athletics program was more robust, plus the school had some fly cheerleaders.

In 2007, me and Josh Wolf got together and made this highlight reel of Eddie.

But I was never able to get them together for the real work that I wanted them for; to get children excited about learning.

So, even though taking the photo was only a symbolic gesture, I'm now confident that I will be able to involve the mascots in my current initiative, Peralta Reads.

Photos: Top, Me with Eddie the Eagle and Cool E. Cougar; left, Laney College student Ebony Miller dances with Eddie the Eagle at 2009 Welcome Back Bash; right, Cool E. Cougar posts up in the AC Transit Mini-Bus at Alameda's 2008 Welcome Back Bash.

p.s. I don't have a pot belly. I just came back from eating some really good Cambodian food and was a little stuffed.


It's Friday and I'm Mr. Furley

>> Friday, October 8, 2010

Super busy day today. If I can push through the day, there's a fun night ahead.

Banned Books exhibit at Laney College.

Already finished class. Tengo mucho tarea para la fin de semana. Wrote an article about a student protest at Laney College yesterday. Read the NYTimes. Edited some photos. And studied for Geography. Not bad for an hour and a half.

But it's tonight I'm looking forward to.

Tonight in West Oakland, the Lower Bottomz Playaz are doing August Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean." I first got hip to Wilson when Laney College did A Piano Lesson a few years back. "Gem" is the highlight of the night, as I get to go with local writer Ann Jacobs.

Before that, I'm going to hit up the College of Alameda vs. Laney College volleyball game and check out the Northern California premiere of "Gerrymandering" at the Laney College theater.

But for now, I need to run for this meeting relating to the Peralta Colleges Accreditation story I'm writing.

Oh yeah, I might get my hurr did (hair done) at the Laney College Cosmetology Department.


Sailing Away commemorates Black San Francisco Ancestors

>> Thursday, October 7, 2010

I was completely exhausted this week. Besides launching a story I had to triple fact-check before publishing, I had a couple projects I was working on.

The most challenging project was the most rewarding. I created a newspaper for an upcoming dance performance in San Francisco called, "Sailing Away." The show is a guerilla dance performance taking place on Market Street about the history of Black folks in early San Francisco.

Most of my friends know I don't like San Francisco. But this performance will warrant me taking a trip across the pond.

The performance talks about early Black San Franciscan's like Mary Ellen Pleasant, Mifflin Gibbs and Archy Lee, and the climate that led to the Black Exodus of 1858, when hundreds of Blacks left California for Canada. It's a fascinating story that I'm only familiar with because I used to do the layout for the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper.

California was a free state. But that good old "Compromise of 1850" led to the reintroduction of the Fugitive Slave Act. What made matters worse in California, laws were set up where only white people could testify. In fact, if a Black woman was raped, but no whites "witnessed" it, there was no crime. Just like slavery when white men had complete control over our bodies.

In this climate, Blacks – who then preferred to be called "Colored" – organized a major convention to fight back. When I think of these colored conventions, which took place while their brethren were still enslaved in the South, remind me of the Pan-African Congresses that began in the 1900s.

Moving on. Despite the discrimination, Black folks in Frisco were making moves. Owning property, businesses while being freedom fighters.

Mary Ellen Pleasant was widely known because she was a madam. But, like I wrote in the newspaper's headline, "Mary's more than Pleasant." Mary was a freedom fighter. Besides predating Rosa Parks and Ida B. Wells in her fight for transportation justice – she was discriminated against while getting on a streetcar – and she also used her fortune to fund abolition. As her tombstone says, "She was a friend of John Brown's."

And Gibbs was the founder of the first Black Newspaper West of the Mississippi; Mirror of the Times.

If you are in the city this weekend, be sure to go to Market Street and check out Sailing Away. The show takes place between Battery and Powell Street starting Thursday, October 7 and runs through Sunday, October 10. Performances will take place at the top of each half hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Be sure to get a newspaper. It has a lot of great historical information about the people I mentioned above, and many others.

Photo Credits: San Francisco Arts Commission


Oakland rappers create 'Liquor Store' anthem

>> Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"This that town shit. Doo doo brown shit."

At least it's not that green baby shit, I guess. The lyrics above (yeah, that shit rhymes) is from a new song by some Oakland Negroes. Absolute embarrassment.

With all the death and destruction associated with liquor stores in Oakland, these Negroes have gone and made an anthem for the "Liquor Store."

To be fair, the editing of the video isn't bad. The beat is decent. But the raps and content aren't worth a tall can of 211, nor the paper bad I suspect one would keep that 211 in.

This must be funded by the Yemeni Grocers Association of the Bay Area.

I'm sure my part-time Muslim, liquor store owning "cousins" love this. I can smell the blunt guts and hear the bottles popping now.

Dumb ass Coons. This sort of behavior will not get you invited to Obama's Liquor Summit.


Honored to receive a scholarship in Chauncey Bailey's name

>> Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tonight, I have the honor of being awarded the Chauncey Wendell Bailey, Jr. Scholarship from the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) at the group's annual gala.

The scholarship is in memory of Chauncey Bailey, an Oakland journalist who was assassinated in 2007. I still remember being at Camp Akili and getting a call from my mom -- Deborah James, arts editor at the California Voice when Chauncey was editor -- telling me he was murdered.

I'd finally met Chauncey a year before. A story I'd written for the Laney Tower was sent out to local media as a press release. I saw the story published in the Globe Newspaper (with some edits) and I was pissed. I was looking up copyright laws and all that. I finally talked to Chauncey and he explained what happened.

That fall, I began publishing stories in the Oakland Post. He later became editor. I last saw him at C. Diane Howell's Oakland Black Expo.

He'd cut his locks. I was just growing mine.

The more research I do on the Black Press in the Bay Area, the more I learn about him -- and from him. He wrote a series for the California Voice in the 1990s about the Black Press. An invaluable series that should be compiled and required reading for Black Journalists.

I thought you might be interested in reading excerpts from my scholarship essay, titled, "Telling our Stories."

My friend’s grandmother once told us, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.”

"In 2004, when, along with 400 other families – my family was forced from our apartment in West Alameda, I thought we’d get some sympathy from our local newspaper, the Alameda Journal. Instead, many of the articles portrayed us as criminals.

We needed our own voice.

I co-founded a newsletter for the College of Alameda Black Student Union (Alameda BSU), the organization I was leading at the time. We named it, “Harambee,” a Swahili word for “pulling together.”

A year later, I was first published in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Since then my writings have been featured in Black newspapers like the Oakland Post, Globe Newspaper and the Sunday Morning News. This initiation has given me a high regard for the Black Press.

Recently, I’ve committed myself to the historical study of the Black Press. I’m particularly interested in publications in the Bay Area. Through my research, I developed a few presentations on the history of the Black Press.

This summer, I was a teacher at Oakland Freedom School (OFS), a five-week literacy program through Leadership Excellence. My class, named after my shero, Ida B. Wells, focused on the History of the Black Press, journalism basics and the history of West Oakland. The young women in my class interviewed community members and wrote articles for a newsletter they deemed, “Freedom School Diaries.”

My journalism philosophy can be best summed up under the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) principles of Ma’at: balance, order, justice, harmony, truth, righteousness and reciprocity.

And as the Credo for the Negro Press stood during World War II, when the institution of the Black Press was under attack for its “Double V” campaign, “I Shall be a crusader and an advocate, a mirror and a record, a herald and a spotlight, and I shall not falter.

“So help me God.”

* * *

Rest in Peace Chauncey.

Chauncey Bailey on Diva TV - April 2007

Photos:, SFWeekly

Past Awardees
2007 - Titiana Kumeh
2009 - N'Jeri Eaton


Who makes up these crappy planet names?

>> Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photo Credit: National Geographic

I don't know if it was listening to some old space-age music I made, my recent review of my photos from my trip to Kemet (Egypt), or my Geography class at with professor Mark Rauzon, but I've been contemplating the Universe a lot lately.

"Respect the Universe." That's what I wrote on my Facebook status a week ago. I then began to spell out my name with the first letter of a series of sentences that came to me.

It's not quite astrophysics, but this morning, I even woke up and listened to Afrika Bambataa's Planet Rock three times. As I headed to class, light, dark clouds in the Eastern sky let me gaze right at the Sun.

There were plenty of other signs throughout the day that made me think about the Universe beyond our planet. Then strangely enough, I just read that astronomers and experts believe they found a habitable planet, Gliese 581g, some 20 light-years away from Earth.

I've always thought to myself: If you were asked to travel off into space, and if there was a possibility that you may never come home, would you?

If you could travel 20 light years to Gliese 581g (crappy name), would you? And, finally, who gave such a crappy planet name out.


What does Reginald stand for?

>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I feel another personal Facebook Fast coming up. Sometimes, I just don't feel like posting information -- nor reading other people's stuff. But it's such a good networking tool and way to find news, I find myself enslaved to the Zuckerberg Matrix.

Last time I felt that way, I first began limiting myself to only publishing one word per day. I'd write words reflecting of principles I cared for. Then after a while, I deactivated my Facebook for a week.

Yes. It was one of my best week's in recent years. But, I noticed how disconnected I was from my network.

Hopefully, as the academic intensity of October approaches, and I progress with my literacy and journalism work, and school and work gets more intense, I will find the balance that allows me to both delve deep into my studies while being aware of news and my social relationships.

Peralta spelled my name wrong on my degree. Guess they didn't have enough money for the "d" in Reginald.

After my recently awarded Associates of Arts degree in Journalism was mispelled, I thought I'd make sure people knew how to spell my name properly.

I acronym for my name made up of my Facebook status updates.

Respect the Universe.
Endure, Exceed and Excel.
Greatness is in your nature.
Invest in others.
Never back down.
Always, by any means.
Learn it, live it and love it.
Deal with the real, feel?

My name means "wise ruler." Those are some decent guidelines to lead by.

That's what my name stands for. What do you stand for?

Photo Credit:


Elmo wants to meet Martin Luther King

>> Tuesday, September 28, 2010

As I continue to organize Peralta Reads, I am regularly blessed to come across information that inspires me to keep on keeping on.

As a journalist who has always wanted to have a talk show and an educator who cares deeply for children, I think I've found my dream job.

I want to interview Elmo. Of course, that's not the dream job. It'd be fun though.

In less than a week, the Sesame Street video featuring an interview with one of the show's most popular characters is approaching four million views. The video -- which used Google Moderator to solicit questions from the public -- has gone viral.

Elmo is an interesting dude. His father is in Iraq, his favorite color is Red, the most famous person he'd like to meet is Martin Luther King and he's interested in space travel (and talking to Martians). However, I do suspect that even he cannot tell me how to get to Sesame Street.

Photo Credit:


My Film Debut "Confined Thoughts: The Movie"

>> Sunday, September 26, 2010

About a year ago, I had a small role in Confined Thoughts - The Movie.

The short film by Laney College students and filmmakers Rod Waters and Michael Cotton, Sr. will definitely have you wanting to see more.

Definitely not how most people picture me...

Uploaded by filmeeent. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

...Can't a brother have some range, though?

The producers are planning on doing a longer version in which my character, "Black," decides to go Back-to-School and straighten-up and fly-right. We'll see.


poem for Oscar Grant

>> Saturday, September 25, 2010

Poem by Bay Area writer and poet Ann Jacobs

By Ann Jacobs

face down on the ground, hands behind his back
an officer of the law feared he was about to attack
exactly what you can do when two cops are on top of you
sadly this is an old story, it's really nothing new

...Black men killed for nothing more than a whim
even pinned down, they put an end to him
but many eyes were watching the incredible sight
and vowed not to let his death be just a slight

those "sworn to serve and protect" tried to lie
but they were on caught on camera with no alibi
Let this man's death not be in vain
we must stop this from happening again

witnesses were not scared into silence
the world cries out for an end to senseless violence

Oscar Grant R.I.P.

Photo by Reginald James. See photo essay on


Conversation with Claude McKay - Short Story and Bio

>> Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Note: This piece was written in 2005 for a Creative Writing Class at the College of Alameda with Wendy Williams. In honor of his birthday, September 15, here is "Conversation with Claude."

Last Thursday, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Claude McKay. McKay was a poet, novelist, and journalist during the Harlem Renaissance, and many saw him as the inspirational force behind the movement.

While attending the weekly open mic series, “Holla Back,” at the Eastside Arts Alliance in Oakland on 25th and International, I bumped into McKay. I didn’t recognize him at first, and then when he identified himself, I thought he was supposed to be dead.

Apparently, he was not and had performed a few poems earlier that evening.

The first poem McKay performed was, “Africa.” The poem was a sonnet uplifting the image of Africa. The delivery was real smooth and it just brought you into his poetry. The crowd seemed to be pleased, but I don’t think they knew who he was.

The second poem performed by McKay that evening was, “The Lynching.” This poem describes a lynching and the communal and celebratory treatment these activities became. The poem describes the sinful practice of lynching, and the joy or “fiendish glee” many attending felt.

The final poem McKay performed is my favorite poem. The poem is entitled, “If we Must Die.” The poem is a call for people to defend themselves, their honor and their respect. The delivery was very powerful, but I’m sure it was the words being spoken, and the not the manner in which they were spoken, which made the poem so.

After McKay finished, the next artist went up to perform and I went outside to talk with McKay while he smoked a cigarette. McKay had never been to California before, although he had extensively traveled outside the US during his lifetime.

McKay told me he was born on September 15th, 1890 in Sunny Ville, Clarendon Parish in Jamaica. His parents, Thomas Francis McKay and Hannah Ann Elizabeth Edwards were farmers. As the youngest of eleven children, McKay was sent to live with his oldest brother, who was a school teacher, which enabled him to get the best education possible.

McKay recalled writing his first poem at about ten years old, although he remembers being poetically inclined well before that time. At about 16 years of age, McKay went to trade school to apprentice as a carriage and cabinet maker. Soon after, McKay briefly tried to be a police officer with the constabulary. These occupations didn’t work out for McKay as he was not following his passion; writing.

The next year, McKay encountered a man who would soon become his mentor, a English man by the name of Walter Jekyll, who encouraged McKay to write his poems in Jamaican dialect verse. Over the course of those next five years, McKay had published two volumes of dialect verse, Songs of Jamaica (1912) and Constab Ballads (1912).

Upon immigrating to the United States, McKay enrolled at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Based on what he had learned of Booker T. Washington, McKay headed there to study agronomy and first encountered American racism. After a brief period at Kansas State College in Kansas, McKay moved to New York. In 1914, the contribution from Jekyll which brought him to New York enabled McKay to open a restaurant and marry Eulalie Imelda Lewars. After a year, both ventures dissolved as Lewars went back to Jamaica to give birth to their child.

McKay had to take some odd jobs for a while before finally publishing, “Invocation”, and “The Harlem Dancer,” in 1917. Through these poems, McKay received recognition as a poet and was consequently published in Pearson’s magazine, and The Liberator, a socialist journal. Through this recognition of his lyrical skill, McKay’s early career got a great jump start. After becoming a socialist, McKay became the editor of, The Liberator, and wrote articles for various other publications, especially left-wing.

During the summer of 1919, also known as the Red Summer, there was a period of increased violence against Blacks. It was during this time McKay created, “If we Must Die,” “Baptism,” “The White House,” and “The Lynching.” McKay felt it was necessary to speak out about the attacks and many feel these poems were his best protest material.

During World War II, Winston Churchill even quoted, “If we Must Die,” while encouraging their troops to fight steadfast in the face of danger. McKay felt it was necessary to speak directly about racial and social issues and focused his material on the working class.

Later that year, McKay told me he moved to England for two years. While there, he worked at the British socialist journal, Worker’s Drednought and published, “Spring in New Hampshire.” Upon returning to the United States, McKay published, Harlem Shadows, before returning abroad.

Over the next twelve years, McKay spent time in various foreign countries in Europe, the Soviet Union, and Africa. McKay felt this period was one of the most difficult in his life, as he witness, and experienced, extreme poverty and illness.

While in France, McKay published, “Banjo: A Story without a Plot,” in 1929, which told the

BANJO by Claude McKay. Published in 1929
story about an African-American musician, in France, and his experiences. While the story did not sell very well, it did influence the emergence of the Negritude literary movement of French West Africa and the French West Indies. While in Morocco, McKay published Banana Bottom, a novel many feel was McKay’s greatest. McKay tells me the novel was about Jamaican Bita Plant, who was educated in England, and returns to Jamaica only to struggle with identity issues.

McKay was financially forced to return to the US in 1934. McKay later completed his autobiography, “A Long way From Home,” which was published in 1937. Still a socialist, McKay continued publishing essays and articles in various publications. In 1940, McKay wrote, “Harlem: Negro Metropolis,” an unpopular, but important historical nonfiction piece. McKay felt his inability to regain the acclaim of the 1920s was due to his race and not obtaining academic credentials.

McKay felt some of his unhappiness was due to him not returning to his homeland, which he left in 1912, but he soon became a US citizen in 1940. After moving to Chicago in 1944, McKay became a Catholic, after claiming agnosticism his whole life. While he shocked many close friends, it helped him with a spiritual fulfillment he had been seeking. McKay told me that a few years before he passed that he was physically declining due to heart disease and high blood pressure. While in Chicago, McKay worded for the Catholic Youth Organization until his death from congestive heart failure in 1948.

This was shocking news due to the fact that McKay was physically standing before me. McKay told me that it was not him whom I bear witness to, but a manifestation of his poetry, as he was in his 1920s physical form. McKay told me he was present as there has been a reemergence of interest in his poetry. As McKay stated in his autobiography, “I have nothing to give but my singing. All my life I have been a troubadour wanderer, nourishing myself mainly on the poetry of existence. And all I offer here is the distilled poetry of my experience.”

McKay then told me not to forget him or his message, and ran across the street to get on AC Transit bus #82. I went back inside to listen to the other poets.

As I watched Ghetto Prophet onstage performing, “Wake Up,” I thought about my conversation with McKay, until I felt a strange shaking on my shoulder.

Michael Walker said, “Reggie Wake Up, man, ‘Holla Back’ is over.


Artist Avy Jetter draws portrait of me, how humbling and inspiring

>> Thursday, September 9, 2010

Humility is a strength, not a weakness.

I cannot describe how empowered I feel, yet humbled by the art I have the honor of introducing. But first, a little background.

Last fall, my good friend Shawanda (who I love to call, "Queen EasyPass" took a great photo of me while in our African American Film class at Laney College with Dr. Carole Ward-Allen.

Through a number of recent experiences -- my lady's birthday, my boss passing away -- my spirit was simultaneously flying and falling. It was like someone was jumping up and down on a rising helium balloon. Despite the weight and gravity...still, I rise.

Back to the photo. So, Shawanda snaps this photo in class, on her phone, and I just loved it.

portrait of reggie drawing3 with reference picShe'd uploaded the photo back in March, but tagged me in the photo on in August.

One of my Facebook friends, the talented Avy Jetter, saw the photo and asked if she could do draw it.

I probably was thinking, "As long as you don't put any horns coming out my head or have me looking like Mr. Wendell, it's cool." Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect.

It makes me feel both proud and humbled that a talented artist would take the time to include me in such a wonderful series.

Without any further ado, here it is.

Pencil Sketch
rough pencil sketch portrait of reggie
Rough pencil sketch of the portrait. The beginning.

Inking 1
portrait of reggie beginning inking1

Inking 2
portrait of reggie beginning inking2

Inking 3
portrait of reggie beginning inking3

Drawing 1
portrait of reggie drawing1

Drawing 4
portrait of reggie drawing4

Super duper fresh!

Check out more art from Avy Jetter at the following links:

Online Shop:


Hopped up out of bed YEAAAAAAH! Turn my Swag on

>> Thursday, September 2, 2010

I love listening to this song in the morning. It is great to get dressed to, do morning pushups, sit ups and jog.

I'm notorious for not caring for Soulja Boy, BUT, this one I like. I take swag to mean something else other than the artificial swagger, or hypermasculinity that most men exhibit. Or, like we say, "Fake it til you make it." Think of how when we sleep, we recharge our batteries. So when I wake up, I'm Surviving With A God's Grace.

I need to get back to my Perfect Pushups:

"It's time to turn it up."

Turn up my Soul power for JAH!


About This Blog

Insight into my daily regimen. Obviously of a different specimen. Me, myself & I. So fly. Welcome to the Daily Regiment.

This blog is an outlet for me to write about my life experiences. While there will be consistent themes in my writing -- because I am what I project in written form -- the topics will vary from day to day, and post to post.

If you are interested in my formal news reporting, you can visit The Reginald James Report or The Black Hour.

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