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: CSMonitor.com


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: itsjust4me.com


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 OaklandLocal.com.


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 Facebook.com 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:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StormoneOriginals
Blog: http://electricstorm.blogspot.com/
Online Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/StormOne
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm1sky


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!


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