Leave your umbrella behind

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To brave the winds and the rain, human beings hide behind protective vinyl force fields called, “Umbrellas.” These devices are used to shield people and property from being ruined by water falling from the sky.

More often that not people I know end up using rinky-dink (see: Janky) umbrellas that end up falling apart.

That’s because people don’t reasonably invest in umbrellas. Folks may pay five dollars for an umbrella that rips apart due to the wind. The metal wires that hold it up end up protruding, in fact, even poking people.

Today at Laney College, I witnessed a young woman leaving school fuddling with her umbrella. The wind was battering her, and her umbrella, making it difficult for her to walk forward. The umbrella was also turning inside out.

In the heat of the moment, she throws down her umbrella, abandoning it.

I commented on her actions, and she responds, “It ain’t worth it.”

I thought about it later as I walked back to campus to hear Ericka Huggins speak. The wind blew against my umbrella, blocking me from reaching my destination. The rain wasn't pouring to hard. I put down my umbrella.

I became a lot more aerodynamic.

Sometimes, we think we are protecting ourselves. We use all sorts of artificial barriers (umbrellas) to protect ourselves from the elements. In the end, we end up hindering our own progress.

These umbrellas make us more vulnerable to the winds. Like sails, we float in the direction with our umbrellas as enablers.

And more often than not, the umbrellas get ripped apart and poke their owners.

Instead, we must abandon these cheap umbrellas that don’t protect us. Let the rain hit your face. Feel the wind in your hair.

Leave your umbrella behind. Sometimes, it’ll make it easier to reach your destination.

Update: Per the request of Dan Figueroa, I've included photos above, as well as a slideshow below of people with umbrellas at Laney College.

* * *


Most Gangsta Bicycle Ever Seen on BART

>> Monday, February 15, 2010

This message was sent using picture-talk messaging service from MetroPCS.

On a Richmond (Orange Line) train, this brotha has the most gangsta bike known to man. Its a metallic grey beach cruiser reinforced with duct tape. It has metal chopper style handlebars with machine gun grips and throttle brakes. He has pegs and has wide super grip white wall tires that are veterans. He has a rear storage area with a Panasonic Boombox on the back. Cassette tapes included. The rider himself wears a full leather motorcycle fit with no helmet. Facial scars included.


What do Pimps do on Valentine's Day?

>> Sunday, February 14, 2010

I don't do Valentine's Day. It's what they call a Hallmark Holiday. But I appreciate it as it allows people to eat (I did sell roses in restaurants when I was 8 yrs old).

But I also know too many people that use Valentine's as an excuse to have extra-marital relations (especially with YB.

Anyway, out of nowhere, I started wondering: What do pimps do on Valentine's Day?

A Google Search didn't really provide satisfactory results. So I decided to ask a couple pimps... but nobody answered. I figured they busy. It is hard out here on a pimp.

Still, here's my "What Pimps Do on Valentine's Day" hypothesis:

  • Count money.
  • All-Star Weekend.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Take ALL they hoes out to for scrimp. But it's AOB.
  • Listen to John Coltrane while reading Robert Greene.
  • Yoga.
  • Avoid where their all-pink, all-red or all-purple suits to avoid being mistaken for a trick.
  • Knock a new beezy who heart got broke by a sucka.
  • Applebees and/or Denny's.
  • Put it in my Pocket.

One Mack is auctioning off his gigolo services

Then again, quiet as kept:

Pimps don't do Valentines (nor do they do $#it for the homies).

I'm pretty sure they don't blog.

If you know what pimps do on Valentine's, feel free to add them below.


Poem: Untitled Cyber Serenading

>> Friday, February 12, 2010

Found this freestyle poem dedicated to a former love interest. God willing, it can inspire someone else or make sure someone remembers what good love they have.


I'm not going to waste time wondering could we, should we
or imagining how things would be
all my intentions are good, we just need to be cautious
you know how the hood be

Conditioning minds to be blind rejecting the good that we find
in each other, sister and brother, we strict how we define
our being, too long our people been dependent on European validation
evaluation and unconsciously accepting degradation

so forget waiting for Moses, i'm riding out like Mansa Musa
with a caravan full of spiritual riches avoiding the Medusa
self-critical, self-perpetuating, nihilistic folks waiting for our downfall
but i must digress, because i'd rather speak about progress

but the process requires analyzing my faults like subliminal seismology and platechtonic psychology
hoping that my antics won't let you get tired of me
but as far as i'm concerned, never a moment is dull
got your womb manning my ship, controlling the hull

sailing off together in a sunset scene bright
enough to light the pre-night while your chocolate silhouette full of mystery got me making bets with myself
on how good you might be for my health

for our wealth, a mutual fund filled with faith fun and fiction
as long as that section is in your jurisdiction,
otherwise a brother might as well slide down the aisle to your section of the library
or better yet, down to our bookstore in North Richmond,

"Malcolm Books" converting crooks and setting them straight in a state
where the crime rate cases our fate to be behind concrete walls and metal gates

that are rarely golden and most of our people know somebody in holding and it makes my heart cold and nearly desensitized
but some how i'm hypno-mesmerized by triple threat of your locks, thighs and eyes
not a superficial attachment but my written interpretation of my attraction to your mind

body and soul
getting to home base is not the goal
but getting home to the Creator is,
but we must avoid the trolls

and the toll is sacrifice and tolling day and night
in a righteous fight beyond Black-n-white

i might just have to pause this before we continue this quest,
but i love to invest

do you have your phone charged yet?


There are Black people who ride segways

>> Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I once saw an image of a bunch of white folks on segways in a line juxtaposed against Hitler inspecting a Third Reich military company. Very impressionable.

However, in 2010 -- in the age of Obama -- there are actually some Black people who ride segways. We just rarely see them.

Ever since segways came out -- and got more popular, people of my generation saw them as something "white people ride." Why? Well, the false assumption that because they were expensive, only people with money could afford them, and although not accurate, people think the only people with money are white.

Then again, the 25 white people riding segways on a tour through West Oakland also contributed to the stereotype.

Photo: Flickr user Draveller

More than that, most Black folks just ain't gonna spend five racks on some generic Star Trek $hit. Seriously, if I can't teleport in that bia bia, I ain't spending that much money.

Plus, I can just borrow a dolly and ride that g thang as my segway.

But besides the hipsters, the only people I regularly see on segways are the po po (see: police). Whether they were campus cops, folks at the airport, etc., they were the only ones I'd ever see. And if you don't know, Black people and police is like Glenn Beck going to a Public Enemy concert. Also, I saw videos of folks in the military.

When I was a child, I used to rollerblade. Folks in the 'hood would say stuff like, "Why you trying to be white?" These folks limited their understanding of what Black people could do. That's why I'm always juiced when I see youngstas rockin those skateboards trying to Kick-Push and Coast through the hood.

Then, in the Summer of 2008, I saw a Black dude mobbin' on a segway (See: Lil Bruce) at Rockridge Out and About. He moved so fast, yet so smooth. He breezed through the crowded festival effortlessly. I said, "I will ride a segway one day."

In 2009, A.C. Transit held a test demonstration of putting segways on buses at its Accessibility Committee. Segways are also being used by people with disabilities, so they were testing whether or not segways could be secured on the bus.

But it was my chance to ride.

The folks from Segway of Oakland were on hand. I quietly asked, "Could I try?" For all I knew, I was the third Black guy in the history of Oakland to ride on (and probably the first with locks).

I got on and got the hand of it quick. Want to go forward, lean forward. Want to go right, lean right. Want to stop, lean backwards. But it's not quite a lean, its a body shift. I even started doing donuts.

I haven't ridden a segway since, but recently saw an elderly Black man -- he looked like General Larry Pratt's little brother -- riding a segway at the Subway restaurant in downtown Oakland.

To be clear, he was on the Segway in Subway, decked out in Red, Black and Green getting a five dollar footlong.

And believe it or not, his order was to go.


John Mayer's racist remarks ignite Twitter

Celebrity and singer named John Mayer lit up the Twitterverse with some racist remarks in a Playboy Magazine interview.

Until this morning, I'd never heard of John Mayer. After today, I probably won't care much about him either. I only heard about it because my folks Charles Perkins posted the following on Twitter:

so im seein twitter go crazy cuz of some comments John Mayer was 1 hunnit about. http://bit.ly/9rGdtM sounds like people r being sensitive
Turns out that John Mayer -- the guy who has collabed with Kanye -- compared his dick to the KKK and dropped the "N-word" bomb. That'll make you a trending topic on Twitter. Now he's apologizing.

Here's an except from the John Mayer interview with Playboy that has hella folks talking:
PLAYBOY: If you didn't know you, would you think you're a douche bag?

MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are "Your Body Is a Wonderland" and "Daughters." If you think those songs are pandering, then you'll think I'm a douche bag. It's like I come on very strong. I am a very...I'm just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can't handle very, then I'm a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That's why black people love me.

PLAYBOY: Because you're very?

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, "What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?" And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, "I can't really have a hood pass. I've never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, 'We're full.'"

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It's making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that's seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you'll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude's.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don't think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fuckin' David Duke cock. I'm going to start dating separately from my dick.

Super blogger Zennie 62 breaks it down this way in his City Brights blog on the San Francisco Chronicle:
My take on this is it's one thing to be "race aware" - say if Mayer had made a comment about African American's still not sharing the American dream in full. That's ok. But Mayer used the N-word, which I have never allowed, even as a small boy. Then he basically religated blacks to what he sees as a permanent second class status, and calls himself a White Supremacist, even if he was referring to a part of his body.

And Mayer thinks black folks love him.
Zennie continues on Mayer stating that all the people forgiving Mayer "give him power and maintain whatever second-class status exists for us."

While I see that he understands that he does not have to deal with institutionalize racism and whatever struggles Black people experience -- just because we're black -- I ain't feeling his disrespectful attitude towards Black people.

I don't accept Black people calling me Nigga (with an "A" an "Ah" or any of that), so it certainly ain't cool for him to say Nigger. And I spell it without asterisks so you don't sugarcoat the word's history. But people are forgiving, or at least understanding.

My folks Katia Allen came with the most practical analysis of the matter:
  • "I respect him for keepin it real... only part that got him is trouble is comparing his dick to the kkk... can't come back from that
  • people have preferences.... he prefers not to date black women... that's his thing, I'm not knockin him for it
  • however, when you compare your dick to kkk, your dick is not a seperate entity, it does not have a brain therefor people will look at him as
  • a racist...
  • silence is very golden and as a public figure who has many black fans who should have known to choose his words wisely
  • I can understand why black women are talking shit and wanting to boycott him... they feel like he knocked us down...
  • John Mayer is not racist, he's just makes air headed spaced out retarded comparisons and if people were offended, let them be
Katia hits it on the nail when he tries to separate his dick from his brain. That is a Eurocentric concept -- separating mind and body. In reality, it is all one. And his spirit told him, Black girls can't have me.

Racist Logic
I won't make excuses for his stupidity. He gets no hood pass or a Nigger Pass. Why did he equate Nigger with Hood.

Let's examine John Mayer's logic:
Hood = Black
Hood = Nigger
Therefore, Black = Nigger.

Even Chris Rock will tell you there was a civil war between Black people and "Niggas." I don't know what punk ass Uncle Toms he been hanging with, but that shit ain't cool.

The fact that he equates "Hood" with "Nigger" shows you where his heart is. You don't have to be a Nigger to be in the hood, but we live in a society that associates crime with Black people, it associates ignorance with Black people. Problematic things are associated with Black people.

We even have some "well-to-do" Black folks that get it twisted that being Black is to be ignorant. That's why folks who are well spoken or do well in school are told, "you talk white."

He should understand not only why it was offensive -- because of the White Man's God Complex -- and he needs to look at himself critically and examine what he believes.

My Racial Thought Evolution
I used to think that every -- and I use this term generically -- "white" person was racist. Simple and plain. White = Racist. Then I evolved to believing, "Every white person is racist. It's simply a matter of how racist they were.

That believe was based on how racist our society is structured, every white person was socialized into the backwards racist mentality. Hopefully, they could either be conscious of it and change. I don't completely believe that now. I treat every person according to their character and behavior.

Nonetheless, Mayer acted like an "accidental racist." I will define this as the person who says something racist but doesn't realize. This is due to the phenomena of white supremacy.

Mayer is a part of the dominant culture, he doesn't have to worry about offending people of other groups. He is the norm. And his dick prefers the norm. When he compared his dick to the KKK, he implied that his dick was too good for black women. But he probably didn't even realize what he was saying was offensive. He was an "accidental racist."

Mayer's Apology
This afternoon, Mayer apologized for using the Nigger word. He writes:
  • Re: using the 'N word' in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it's such a shame that I did because the point I was trying
  • to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it,
  • because I realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged.
  • Again, because I don't want anyone to think I'm equivocating: I should have never said the word and I will never say it again.
While some people think he was trying to "keep it one hunid" (see: 100% real), he just revealed his own subconscious racist mindset.

Unfortunately, participating in this discussion supports white supremacy. The fact that one white guy -- albeit, with 3 million Twitter followers -- can say some stupid ass racist shit and it becomes a trending topic is preposterous.

He was ripped off some scotch, so he came raw when he made the statement about his preferences.

Affirmative Action Dick?
I prefer Black women with curly/nappy hair. But I would be outta pocket if I said, "My dick is Black Panther" or "My dick is a Garveyite." That would be wrong mainly because it equates my penis to freedom fighters (even though I use my dick for revolutionary causes, also).

What would it sound like if he said, "My dick doesn't support Affirmative Action."

Me personally, "my heart is Paul Robeson but my dick is Shaft. (You damn skippy)"

But seriously, if I said, "If John Mayer's dick is "white supremacist," mine is homophobic." There would be LGBT folks who would be mad -- probably the same ones who blamed Blacks for Prop. 8 -- but there would be others who would understand: He's jokingly saying that he prefers women. Simple. (For the Record: I don't discriminate)

I understand John Mayer's point and had he just said this in a vaccuum, he might have gotten the "hood pass" he talked about. But dropping the Nigger Bomb is in appropriate. And why throw David Duke in there. Why not compare your shaft to Hitler while you're at it.

Guarantee he wouldn't have said that if I was in the room. Then again, white people have that luxury in this society.

Subconscious White Supremacy
In a recent article I wrote for The Black Hour, anti-racist activist Tim Wise told Laney College students:
His advice on confronting subtle or subconscious racism was critical confrontation. He said some whites may not be conscious of their racism, but by asking questions or critiquing racist remarks or statements, you can encourage people–who are not overtly or intentionally racist, to improve.

“You don’t want to just jump on them, you want them to think.”
Zennie offers the parting words: "My advice: watch the scotch, review what you think about people, and date black women."

I disagree. Leave my sistahs alone. And John, don't blame it on the alcohol.


POEM: Man and Water

>> Sunday, February 7, 2010

Photo: Lake Merritt South Fountain(2008)

Man and Water

Man walks Water waves

Man speaks Water splashes

Man writes Water ripples

Man cool Water calm

Man drinks water
Water drowns man

Man reflects
Water reflects


Missing Girl in Oakland, Help Find Afua

>> Friday, February 5, 2010

UPDATE: Afua is home safely.

Afua Vinson has been missing for over 24 hours. She was last on Wed. Feb 3 at 9:30 p.m. getting on the AC Transit Line 15 bus at 58th and Martin Luther King, heading towards downtown Oakland.

She is Black, has Black curly hair and brown eyes. She is 5'3'' and weights approx. 105 lbs. She was last seen wearing grey skinny jeans, a white jacket and a Black A's hat (with Red/white "A").

Anyone with any information to help find the whereabouts of Afua should contact:

  • Michael - 510-992-9969
  • Jennifer - 510-395-2968
  • Kia - 510-830-7134
  • David - 510-485-6677

If you're on Facebook, join the Search for Afua Facebook Group.

Thank you!


Alameda Posey Tube

Photo: Flickr user Reginald L James

The Posey Tube, from leaving Alameda to Oakland, was closed yesterday after a multiple vehicle accident. It's the second time in a week that the Tube was closed.

While the tube was closed, I got this shot of an empty Posey Tube.


Dream Day: Remembering Mike Dream

>> Thursday, February 4, 2010

RIP Mike Dream (1969-2000)

Photo: Amoeba.com

I'm from Alameda. Not born, but raised. And I represent the Buena Vista's (Buena Vista Apartments, Alameda, CA) every day.

My apartments were home to Jimmy Rollins, Antwon "Strife" Rollins, Jimmie Reign, Dasha Chadwick, the Minister of Information JR and more. But one of the most important people from Alameda to come out of the B.V.'s is Mike "Dream" Francisco.

Dream was a graff legend -- a Bay Area graffiti pioneer -- by the time I was breakdancing at Woodstock Park battles (ABC - Alameda Breaking Crew).

A lot of people from Alameda front like they from Oakland, or claim spaces where other people live. Although I moved to Alameda from Oakland, one of the reasons I took pride in being from the Buena Vista's was Dream was from Alameda.

Dream was an amazing artist, and from what people who really know Dream, was real.

Sadly, Dream was killed in West Oakland in 2000. He would be 40 years old today. Instead, his beautiful life was taken from us.

The Oakbook writes: "To mark his tenth death anniversary, a group of DJs and artists have put together a benefit for Francisco’s son, Akil Francisco, whose mother recently succumbed to breast cancer."

"Dream Day" will be at the New Parish in Oakland Friday, Feb. 5. Be there!

Dreams Autobiography

"This piece is for all of you fake ass perpetratin, “Hip-Hop” T-shirt wearin, tags on the backpack totin bring your bitch with you to do your fill-in, no respectin, no style havin, writin for two months callin ya’selves Kings, no knowledge of history havin, in it for the minute, once a month piecin’ no skill havin taking three hours to draw a pretty ass character, started writin in art school wishin you was down with the culture! You good for nothin’ forever fakin’ the Funk Mutha Fuckas!!!"


To learn more about DREAM or TDK (Those Damn Kids) visit DreamTDK.com.

Like Dream wrote in his autobiography, "Writing is my life" about the evolution of his graff writing, I see the similarity in my own writing:
My pieces started to have more content and substance, and each piece meant more than bombing (which is a fundamental part of this writing culture), but had more of a message. My writing has become a part of mental liberation, focusing on issues such as police brutality, national liberation, racism, and rebellion. But, ultimately it is the style of the letters, the words, that keep me writing, because to stay in the game, you need to stay on top of your style and ride that shit.
Words from a King. Rest in Power "King Dream".


'National Ride on the Front of the Bus Day" honoring Rosa Parks' Birthday

Happy Revolutionary Birthday Rosa Parks! Rest in Power

Photo: NYTimes.com

Today is our ancestor Rosa Parks' birthday.

The civil rights icon stood up by sitting down -- just like the Greensboro Four.

The South was segregated in all aspects; lunch counters, churches, education, water fountains and public transportation. Black people had to sit on the back of the bus and give up their sits

In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger and move to the back of the bus.

"All I was trying to do was get home from work," Parks said.

She wasn't the first to challenge these segregation laws; however. Probably the most known, but unknown was Claude Colvin, who refused to give up her seat nine months prior.

What made Rosa Parks different -- as Cedric the Entertainer joked in the movie Barbershop, was that Parks was the Secretary of the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP. While Cedric jokes that all she did was "sit her black a$$ down" it was much more this time.

Her organizational skills and history made her the perfect person to challenge segregation laws.

As a proud bus rider, I appreciate Rosa Parks for standing up. I was wrote a parody of Mistah F.A.B.'s rhyme on "Sick Wit' It" that:

"I'm not a dummy, retarded or ride the Yellow Bus/
I ride with Rosa Parks 'cuz she rode for us/"

Unfortunately, Parks wasn't always honored for her contributions. Parks was robbed and beaten in her Detroit home in the 1990s and folks may remember that Rosa Parks sued Hip Hop legends, "Outkast" in 1999 for their song, "Rosa Parks."

"Rosa Parks"

Original Outkast "Rosa Parks video

Ironically, 55 years later and young Black folks choose to sit on the back of the bus.

Here's a poem I wrote 50 years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott in October 2005:

Rosa Parks poem (circa October 2005)

Riding home on the bus, smelling like must
My mind on the Creator, in God I trust
But all the seats shaking like they ready to bust
I'm wondering why ain't no brothers sitting up front?
Did you hear that Rosa Parks passed last week?
Brother looked away like I didn't speak
He's been working all day and ready to sleep
Mine preoccupied and can't dig too deep
Peep, other brother in the back rolling weed
Like it's the only thing we need
And we feed the stereotypes created by white
Supremacy, but it ain't gonna blemish me
Tarnish my thoughts or alter my perceptions
I get up, go in the opposite direction
I look back, dude thought I was telling the driver
Dry snitch that he had that fire, but I AM fire
Rarely restrained cannot be contained
Igniting frightening brains, am I insane for saying
Before you finish rolling that or spark:
Sit on the front of the bus like you rolled for Rosa Parks/

In honor of Rosa Parks Birthday, I, Reginald James, blogger of the Daily Regiment, declare February 4, 2010 as "National Ride on the Front of the Bus Day." Special shout out to Felix Solomon of the Laney Tower for the idea.

If you are riding the bus today, ride in the front. But it's okay to give up your seat for an old lady.

Today is also the birthday of my beautiful sister Shantel James.


50 Years Later: Greensboro Four Sit-in

>> Monday, February 1, 2010

Photo: Greensboro News Record

At a time where standing up for justice is mandatory, sitting down doesn't sound like the most revolutionary act. But it was most radical half a century ago.

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the "Sit-in Movement." Four students from North Carolina A & T stood up for civil rights by going to a segregated Woolworth's store in Greensboro and sitting down.

At the time, the apartheid - Jim Crow - South-Woolworth store did not allow Black people to sit at the lunch counters (although they could stand and eat inside the store). The lunch counter was for whites-only.

Photo: Mark Pelligrini

Initially, the store manager left the young men alone thinking that they'd leave. The next day they came back with more folks and by the end of the week, there were over 300 students with them.

The Greensboro sit-ins launched a movement. Within that week, other students were sitting in throughout the state, and the country.

This marks the beginning of direct-action tactics that young people of the Warrior Class are so eager to engage in.

Photo: Smithsonian Institute

These student movements eventually led to the Freedom Rides, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Student Movement, Black Student Unions and Black Studies.

When I was younger, a sit-in did seem very revolutionary to me. As El Hajj Malik El Shabazz once stated, "Anyone can sit. An old woman can sit." However, in context, I can understand the profound significance of one "asserting their citizenship" by sitting down.

A civil rights museum now marks the spot where the Greensboro Four acted.

As a Black student, I am greatful for their actions. And as I sit in class today, I realize that the legacy of Greensboro Four sitting, allowed me to stand proud today.


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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