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 BatchGeo.com, 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.

Video: ReconsiderColumbusDay.org


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 OaklandLocal.com, 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: Newsbusters.org, SFWeekly

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


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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