Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Browns Front Line vs. The African Who Can vs. The Blind Man Who Can Sing vs. The Rich Man Who Can Fly


(You'll have to excuse me: I just saw "Hotel Rwanda" and "Bride and Prejudice" baked-to-back, and I'm suffering from huge-burger + huge-fruit-custard-for-dessert style indigestion...)


But with the Oscar-glow fading (and Sean Penn finally untying Chris Rock from a chair after beating him with a rubber-ducky while watching Jude Law movies), the middle-finger is put away in favour of my two-thumbs: it's movie review time.

Bride and Prejudice

Director Gurinder Chadha - of well-deserved "Bend It Like Beckham" fame, is calling her own plays now, and throwing Hail-Mary's while falling out of bounds as Coach Harvey Weinstein tears his hair out and tears into another cheeseburger.

Her QB rating is a respectable 75% with a couple of idea-interceptions, so it's an admirable performance... but this time she doesn't win the Super Chutney Bowl MVP.

That's not to say it's a bad movie - it's a lot of fun, it's just not a great one. So, it falls into a "see it" but don't expect to be Bent over backwards like Beckham did ya.

I'll give you what you can't get from other reviews here... some BKB funk...


Brownsville - Don't just shout-out things that brown people will laugh at because they are already familiar, you've got to explain more for a wider audience for this kind of picture. You've got a couple of excellent comic foils in the on-screen white people curious about our culture, including the male lead Martin Henderson (who's kind of like what if Bill Pullman was a pretty-boy), and they could've been used better.

A few too many nods to the assumed-familiar had me laughing in spots, but I was also painfully aware that others would have some trouble. I'm not saying you shouldn't proudly shout-out everything you just did, but you need more unique twists on the ideas as opposed to getting credit for just mentioning them - and in a few cases, leaving those familiar with Indian culture and Bollywood to make their own jokes.


Aishwarya Rai - I found her!

Ironically, this was the first movie of hers that I've seen (as a coconut I haven't watched much Bollywood - but she makes a great metaphor), and that was wicked. She's anime-hot (and kind of like what if you properly inflated supermodel Linda Evangelista), Julia Roberts called her "the most beautiful woman in the world", and she's a hell of an actress too - carrying us emotionally through a wild cross-continental love quadrangle. She's also holdin' it down for all the curvy-cuties out there who don't have pricey personal-trainers - a niche market I know, but I wish her best of luck... :)


It's very strange to see a soft-body-hottie on the big screen, as traces of tummy appear in several scenes, and it's unusual for any big-time American actress to allow for that. I've also seen Western-starlet outfits modeled on life-size mannequin busts at the Warner Studio lot in L.A., and man are our celeb-chicks freakishly tiny. (I guess it's a pick'em, and given the choice... I pick both.) Since most brown girls who don't work-out like crazy are softer-bodied on average than other girls, she's keepin' it real and real-Desi, and she still looks real-good.


BTW, this ain't just a brown-girl thing, after millenia of following a fairly peaceful set of Hin-do's and Hin-don't's, the guys have gotten a bit soft too. (No offense to the big-brown guys who can kick my ass.)

India is the only large country in the world that never attacked another in it's history - no pillaging, no "crusades", etc. We still fought internally, we just never made a habit of going somewhere, meeting someone new, and saying: "I wanna kick your ass!!!"

We gave Buddha away, we made steak'n'kidney pudding taste good, and we gave Jesus a place to chill-out after he finished making that Mel Gibson movie.

So, brown guys aren't exactly in fighting-shape either.

Want proof?

One-billion people, and every year... a half-dozen Olympic medals.


(I've been working on my abs myself... I got one so far! Yeah!!! ;)


NOTE: A friend just emailed me this fact which I corroborated it with the link below...

...I think it was a bad idea... but Janet Jackson did it for Poetic Justice... but America knew who Janet-lite was... but this just seems silly... like the almost-kissing scenes where they go in for a kiss... stop... and hug... why go for it if they don't kiss...?


Q - Why has Ash gained weight?

A - I felt it was more suitable for my character in Bride & Prejudice to not look like a fashion model, so I gained 20 pounds in hopes of making the role more realistic. I am now on a diet, but it was more fun to gain than it is to lose... :)


Hotel Rwanda

"Welcome, to the Hotel, California..." this ain't.

Instead, it's a harrowing tale of a country's incomprehensible descent into madness based on artificial cultural divisions.

(Kind of like Fahrenheit 9/11... except completely different.)


The acting is uniformly stellar as they manage to naturalize a very unfamiliar Africa on-screen, the story is told straight-up, and is taught and gripping, as hints of impending violence constantly surround the hotel-turned-Tutsi-sanctuary. The actual violence is kept to a minimum - which is great, since the few scenes they show are stomach-turning enough, and it's best that this movie be seen by as many as possible. I don't think "keeping it real" by trying to show anything close to a million people being slaughtered makes any sense - any more then extended gas-chamber scenes in "Schindler's List" would make that a better film.

The moral is also far more universal than: "Man is Africa screwed up!", as the bitter legacy of colonialism lives on, and the pent up frustrations of any people will erupt into an orgy of violence if given the time and the outlet: a word to the wise for any society looking the other way too long.

Don Cheadle is magnificent as Paul Rusesabagina, whose guts and cunning are the only thing that saved 1000 people from being slaughtered mercilessly - and joining the million that were. His journey from adopting Western culture as the superior-norm to realizing their fleeting-loyalty as they desert him and the people of Rwanda, is heartbreaking. He is made stronger for it, and realizes that even if he plays by their rules better than they do, when push comes to shove (and perhaps because he conformed with such willing relish) he'll never really be one of them - nor should he be.

The only minor-issue I have is the use of Hollywood "movie-music" in certain scenes, as classic (cliched?) strained-refrains are used to augment the tension along with African music. Using the same music that might prompt Rhett Butler to say: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!" seems out of place here in (darkest) Africa. While the emotions resurrected are familiar, sometimes they subtly take us out of the setting by tapping into classic Hollywood "I'm feeling bad for the characters" feelings, the same ones as seeing J-Lo grab her Swiffer and almost lose Ralph Fiennes forever - until of course, she doesn't. I think if they stuck to their African-musical-guns they would've been fine, as the entire situation was so tense that even a Western audience would've hardly been affected by subtle unfamiliar background music.


This (sort of thing) is also what I hated about "Scarface" - the bad 80's music. It's still great, but that crap didn't help make it a classic gangster movie. (Imagine the same used in "The Godfather"?) Any music with lyrics can easily detract from any movie unless it's meant to be a crucial part of it: I ain't crappin' on "Saturday Night Fever" or "8 Mile" for the same - so don't universalize this principle in order to destroy it.

It can certainly be done well, and our brains will fondly remember Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight" on the TV show "Miami Vice"; Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" from "Say Anything"; or "Stuck In The Middle With You" from Pulp Fiction. As 50 Cent noted: "Music marks time", so nothing will be the same as the time as the first time you heard favourites in enjoyable contexts, and each generation will have trouble being objective about the past.


Hearing screaming rock music while Ben Affleck leapt around in rubber-tights in "Daredevil" was atrocious, and made a bad movie far worse. Sticking with lyric-free music that's unnoticeable save for improving the quality of a scene is a safer bet in general, and better than playing through the pain of bad choices.



You know, a friend of mine recently saw it, and she said despite the the fact that the movie portrayed him in the best light possible: "He was still such a total asshole!"

I quickly pointed out the irony: "If that's true, do you really think they portrayed him in the best light possible?"

With naturally negative people, sometimes you just can't win.


Jamie Foxx deserves props: he was incredible, he deserves the Oscar.


The movie is fairly linear, but the style works to tell such a fascinating story of a kid learning to play piano just before going blind at age 7, and then going on to hustle his blind-black-ass into international superstardom in an era of incredible racism.

Just watch it, I wasn't a "fan" of Ray Charles before, but I am now...


One aspect that was really compelling to me, was his logic with regards to his relationships - with both men and women.

With men it was complicated, as he realized that his talent was greater than his label could promote, than his band could complement, and than his manager could manage. He tried to keep everyone happy, but if he listened to some of his closest and oldest friends it would've held him back for sure. Much like Ben Affleck's character noted to Matt Damon's in "Good Will Hunting", it's better for you to want your friends to live up to their potential and achieve their goals than to hold them down for selfish reasons.

Besides, if they're really your friends, then once they make it big they'll come back for you, and give you as much shine as they can as soon as they can - whether you deserve it or not.


(Aw man, I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the new D12 album!!!)


With women, it was more complicated:

Waaay more complicated.

But that makes sense:

Women are complicated.

Waaay more complicated.

"Men are simple: Feed me, Fuck me, and Shut the Fuck Up!"
- Chris Rock, "Never Scared"


Ray had a wife and was poppin' out kids at home, but while on the road the temptations were fairly tempting...

"Yeah baby..."

"So many fine-wristed women..."

"So little time..."


So, what did he do?


(I know, I know...)

(Maybe my friend was right... maybe he was a total asshole...)

(Then again, maybe not.)


The difference between artist and average Joe's with regards to this is really a matter of honesty:

Artists are more honest.

It comes out in their work, and it also comes out in their confidence with women knowing that...

"A steady-line, will keep forming, 'round the block, you'll see; And if you threw away your ticket, sorry baby, you shoulda fucked meee..."
- Black Krishna, Song: "U Shoulda"

Whereas Joe Average will resort to, or "The World's Oldest Profession" (and still going strong), or pornography, or phone-sex, or their secretary, or Palmela and Handgela...

Ray Charles was straight up:

"My music comes first, THEN my wife, THEN my heroin, and THEN YOU!!! Cool?"


And as his casual affairs with his female back-up singers deteriorated, he often compensated by writing them solo's, which both calmed things down for him and gave her the opportunity to shine before she finally had it with his wandering-- uhh, ear...

He would write something like "Hit The Road Jack", manically bobbing his head at his piano as he could hear the utterly honest bile and anger at which his mistress would belt it out - thus helping make better music.


As an icon, he shared the same philosophy towards relationships as many of the greats: Beethoven, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Charlie Parker, Mick Jagger, Bob Marley, Axl Rose, Tupac Shakur, Gene Simmons, Lloyd Banks...


I don't want to hurt anybody, but I want to do what I want.

So, if you want, let's do this...

If you don't, let's not.

Makes sense to me...


(NOTE: If you REALLY feel that strongly about this, then throw out most of your good music.)


The Aviator

Howard Hughes was insane.

But, before that he was almost insane.

And then, he did some really cool shit.


This movie's great, as Leo ("Leo? Leo! Uncle Leo!!!") disappears after about 10 minutes (give or take) into character, and the rest of the movie moves along at a nice pace, with a solid supporting cast supporting Hughes in his inspired insanity.

Or condemning him.

Ahh, the life of an insane visionary... I know it well.

(MENTAL NOTE: Avoid peeing in milk bottles while wandering around naked locked in a room watching war-movie footage. Bad idea. And, forget the naked childhood bathing and sermonizing ritual mommy came up with. Okay, sure, it was a lot of fun, but it'll come back to haunt you.)


Hughes had his own code of ethics and rules that were perfectly ethical and rule-y if you looked at them objectively.

Thanks to him the U.S. has more than one airline, as the idea of a reasonopoly was being pitched by Pan-American Airlines in their attempts to crush TWA - supported by a heavily bribed U.S. Government. He also challenged Hollywood on how to shoot movies, including using 30 cameras to shoot a single scene. (Think: pre-Matrix "Bullet-time".) And after he and Kate Hepburn broke up, when he found out she fell in love with a very married Spencer Tracy and the press had compromising pictures, instead of reacting with classic male jealousy he bought them off the press to have them destroyed.

I guess if you truly love someone you'll let them love who they want to...


That's it for now, I'll see you at the movies...


Monday, March 07, 2005

My 50 Cent's on The Game...


For both 50 Cent and The Game, it's all just a game...


I'm down 2 play and get played 4 fun, and as long as we're in on the fact that it is a game, then I think we're cool...


I'm'a flip you 10 shiny-nickels...


1. "I'm bringin' drama, like the Dalai Lama's baby-mama..."

The day 50's album dropped, he publicly kicked The Game out of G-Unit on a radio show, and then The Game's camp approached the radio station and a Compton homeboy got shot in the leg.

Now, beef was stewing, but...


Every paper writing about it?

My homiez hittin' me up 2 spill it?

Everyone excited and talkin' about it?

A new East/West beef?

50 Cent as the real-deal, even fuckin' with his own mentor Dr. Dre's protege?

Blastin' Brad, Jen and Angelina off the gossip pages?

(Brad: "Thanks dawg!!!")

Yeah right...

2. "Whaddup Blood, WHAT!, Whaddup Cuz, WHAT!, Whaddup Capone, WHAT???, Whaddup Gangstaaa...!!!"

Okay, so XXL says for a cover shoot: "Yo, BK, I want you to wear a 1930's Al Capone pinstripe gangster-suit, grab that big-ass crossbow, and look mean as hell! Cool?"

Sure dawg. Why not?

You can check it (XXL #67) and ask 50, among all his Desert Eagles, 9-Milli's, Mack-11's, shanks, and the rest of his apparently massive killin' kollection, did he ever had a crossbow in the 'hood?

You ain't gotta be 'hood to know there ain't no middle-earth crossbows in the 'hood, and he ain't wear no pinstripe-suit 2 flip some Peruvian 4 loot neither.

He looks badass though...

3. "No shame in The Game, claimin' fame..."

Okay, so The Game joins G-Unit, he's 23 years old and just starting his career after 2 years of chilling at Aftermath, and has Dr. Dre sending him out verbal-glock blazin' to grab Compton some long-lost love.

Then 50 says: "Yo! Welcome to the camp dawg! By the way – your new enemies are Nas, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Lil' Kim, Shyne, Ja Rule, R. Kelly, Irv Gotti, Benzino, The Source, and whoever else I wanna fuck with!"

"Got it?"


If it was me, unless I was ridin' 4 a minit now like Banks, Yayo and Buck, I'd probably say: "Look man, that's cool... but really, I'm just getting started in this rap-shit, and dammit dawg... Nas??? I looked up 2 that man right there, and some of them other cats I'd love 2 fuck with on some hot shit too..."

Having enemies is stressful, and:

"If money can't buy happiness, I guess I'll have to rent it!"
- Weird Al Yankovic, “This Is The Life”

So 50's stacked $50 mill will certainly help, but I'd rather stay out unless I was pulled in...

"See, we're kind of, like, Siamese twins; 'Cause when we beef, we, pull, each other, in..."
- Eminem, "Gatman and Robbin'"

4. "Is there a Dr. Dre in the house?"

One of 50's beefs is with Dr. Dre trying to make The Game a rapper – a 2-year project that's finally completed, and Dre not having enough time to give 50 bomb-beats 4 his new album.

Well, first of all, Dr. Dre can do what he wants – we all should be able to, and if that's all the time he had, that's cool. I got a third-hand story from a friend about seeing first-hand how he works at Aftermath too, and aside from producing his own beats, he also sits back and vets all the beats that his in-house guys made, sending 'em back 4 seasoning on the regular.

So he's busy, but...

In reality, he also contributed 3 beats each for both 50 and The Game's albums.

So, what's the beef?

Watch it go away...

5. "I'm Singin'... in the Pain..."

"You sing for ho's, and sound, like the Cookie Monster..."
- 50 Cent (on Ja Rule), "Back Down"

Now, that's a hot line, but it's been said before and I'll say it again: 50 sings a hell of a lot. And, The Game sings as much as he can. And, Eminem sings all the time these days.

And, when none of them can sing it, they rent an R'n'B chick.

Or Nate Dogg.

On 50's new album he's singin' his ass off for the whole damn thing, and he's even called Jadakiss out for not being able to sing any of his "hooks".


When he calls Ja out for singing - which I don't mind Ja doing at all, it doesn't always sound good but he can hit it (check his hits), we gotta ask if we're buying in to the G-Unit gang-mentality a little much. We ain't part of G-Unit just 'cause we rock a hoody and think we paid a $100 membership fee, and I'm not obligated 2 pick a clique.

Hell, I'm'a fuck with both of 'em, "Between Me and You" was a hot song that reminds 'ayebody to mind their own business.

There's lots of reasons to call everyone out, and we've all got shit that someone else doesn't feel, but on the real we gotta realize that long before "21 Questions" we've always loved artists "singin' for ho's".

Hell, I sing 4 all mine...

6. "How the hell did 50 Cent turn into $50 million?"

He's smart.

No really.

I know Many Men hate him on principle, so (from XXL #67) I'll let him explain...

"I always try to appear less intelligent so I can stay ahead of them. (Laughs)"

"I can say Fuck the 'hood" 'cause I'm from the 'hood. And I don't know nobody that wants to be there."

"If they doubt me, then that's cool. It makes me feel like I'm making my first album again. I'm trying to destroy [Get Rich Or Die Tryin']. But musically, I'll never top how you felt when I first came out. Music marks time. Certain music comes on, and you can remember the girl you were with at the time because y'all used to play that song while y'all were together or hung out. But I can make a better record."

"We (Jay-Z and I) never have any friction... I guess it's 'cause he has his own money to count - while all these niggas spend all they time counting mine. I respect dude."

"(On conscious MC's) Absolutely, I enjoy their music... Common Sense, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dead Prez... Somebody else is always going to have some quality that you don't have."

"(On U.S. Troops) These are just kids in the hood that joined the military just so they can go to college. You get around the soldiers out in that situation, they are kind of different because they constantly have death around them. I'm sure the people that I met over there weren't the people that the U.S. knew before they went off to war."

And so on.

Anyone that can't learn from him and his success outside of biting his shoot-'em-up style on mixtapes just isn't trying, and as you know, he Got Rich without Dyin' Tryin'...

"If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" -Everybody

7. "No please, call me Marshall..."

Eminem's smart.

Hell, he was smart-enough to flip a crack-dealer a million dollars – and make a 100 million dollars.

(Yeah – So fuck your Nortel stock.)

And, he's on some of that old "Save The World" shit.

I know. I recognize. I'm on that shit myself.

From "White America" to "Mosh", to remixing his hero 2Pac for white-people on "Loyal To The Game", to...


A music video of his home-movies (see why he's hella hard 2 beat?), a crazy ballsy concept of publicly singing a private song to his daughter that he makes work, as he humanizes himself after years of complaining about being a character. He was always in favour of being considered an "artist" keeping it "real", as opposed to keeping it "real" and then being an "artist", and his shit had a point (free speech, neurosis, relationships, beef, politics) that wasn't always apparent, especially early.

So, why's he fucking with G-Unit? Why's he pimping the biggest gangster rappers in the world?

If he doesn't feel the politics he doesn't need the money, and he doesn't need the drama of some crazy Queens killah poppin' off at him 2 get signed by The Inc.

I hope to sit down and politik with 'em to figure this out. I can see the signs of consciousness beyond the thuggery, and I'm starting to see some evidence on a "take over the world and then save it" level. Like advancing within a political party (or the world), sometimes you gotta play by the rules to get up in the game first.

Who knows?

I guess we'll see...

XXL: "Is it true you no longer drink or smoke? Are you a health-nut?
50 Cent: "I ain't got time for that shit. I'm trying to win."

(Did you hear that kids? Now put the blunt away like Uncle 50 told you, and finish your fucking homework...)

8. "Playin' The Game..."

Uh-oh, The Game's callin' G-Unit out at shows, you know G-Unit gotta buck-back, and you know they gotta go at it until...

...they don't wanna.

"Who You Wit'?"
- Jay-Z, "Who You Wit'?"

I'm not saying it's not a real beef, but I'm not saying it is either.

All I know is apparently you gotta roll with either The Game or 50 Cent, and their respective camps. So, who's it gonna be? How you gonna decide? I got both their new albums, and they're both good...

"Like Banks, he understands. He watched it go from, "Yo I like Banks better than I like 50..." to "Yo, I can't front, I'm feeling Young Buck, I ain't feeling Banks..." You see what I'm saying? But internally, in the camp, we have no problems."
- 50 Cent, XXL #67

So, now the hottest thing to discuss in hip hop is who you feeling: Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit artists, or Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit artists.


"Clickety-clank, clickety-clank, the money goes in, to my, Piggy Bank..."
- 50 Cent, "Piggy Bank"

9. "The Media Massacre..."

George Bush Sr. recently said out-of-the-blue that his son Jeb Bush doesn't plan to run in 2008, and that he expects Hilary Clinton to run for the Democrats. He also said however, that Jeb would actually make a great President, since he knows the issues, and he's a strong leader.


Why am I fucking with these dudes in this article?

Every public communication is rehearsed, and the bigger the institution the more rehearsed it is – including in hip hop. Even if your small 3-person catering company is getting some shine from your local paper, the 3 of you are going to get together to make sure you say what you should for the most shine – or the desired effect of more business.


Ol' George goes:

"Nah, Jeb ain't runnin', but Hilary is..."

And the Red-States go:


“Man, we HATE that bitch!!! A good First-Lady should always kick it like Laura Bush - the strong, silent, and stupid type! Oh Jeb, pretty-please-please-please run, please continue the Bush Dynasty until we can amend the Constitution so that Ahnold can run! Please Jeb, save us from Hilary!!!"

And so, to quote the immortal Mortal Kombat:

"It has begun..."


"Are you a moron? Just listen to Shady!; We still gotta Mosh, for the kids and ya lady!"
- Black Krishna, Song: "Bomb Dropping Shenanigans"

10. "If You F--k With Me, I Will Kill You-- Hey girrrls..."

Yes, it's all about the music, and I gotta say – this shit is a guilty pleasure that I don't feel guilty about.

Fuck that.

I was trading convo with some hip hop activist friends who poo-poo the "bling-bling" and the "gangsta", and I asked them point-blank if they'd seen the movie "The Matrix".

They said: "Yeah, of course, we loved it!"

So I said: "You WHAT??? You watched and supported a $100-million movie??? Do you know how many people could've been helped by that money??? Do you know how many starving Africans could've been fed with that money???"


It's bullshit.

We can have fun, but we shouldn't be takin' serious shots at each other over this shit when we got real enemies fuckin' up our lives, and we shouldn't be pickin' sides with our music – as our fave artists who are way-smarter than us figured out a long time ago.

When 50 Cent was guest-editor of XXL, he picked his favourite MC – Talib Kweli, to interview. Then, Talib said his favourite MC was 50 Cent – a fact corroborated by Kanye West, who said that's all Talib played when they were on tour together.

So, what's the beef?

It's bullshit.

"See— the movie Goodfellas, and 'hood-yellas, are nad-swellas; Just the bling in ya pinky-ring, got my whole-house jealous!"
- Black Krishna, Song: "If You F--k With Me"


G-G-G-Gandhi Unit!!!

Peace and Change...

"Second-generation, starts to hate immigration; In case the situation, screws up, they' Playstation..."


(sent 2 me by my spoken word homie SPIN -



--Please take 5 minutes on Monday to contact the Minister of Immigration and urge him to allow Wendy Maxwell to remain in Canada-- READ ON!

On Saturday March 5th at the International Women’s Day rally at Jorgenson Hall at Ryerson University, a woman was arrested by 51 Division officers while selling cookies to raise money for CKLN Community Radio. Her crime: living in Canada with out Immigration status.

Wendy Maxwell, also known as Nzinga, is now in jail at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton. She could be deported at any time.

Nzinga is a talented and strong Black Woman who is an active member of our community. Many who have met her either as a colleague, friend, or through her community work admire her tenacity and humility. These are the type of people our community needs. Born in Costa Rica, she is a woman of Jamaican descent who has had to contend with police repression, the violence of organized crime, and now the racism of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

After six productive years in Canada and continuous community involvement, she faces imminent deportation to a dangerous and uncertain future even though she has an application for landed status filed with Immigration Canada that has yet to be adjudicated.

Nzinga faces serious risk if forced back to Costa Rica. She was once picked up by the Costa Rican police, well known for racially profiling Black people, and sexually assaulted by them. She also faces risk as a bisexual woman from the police, whose homophobia is well documented. One Costa Rican research group states that “lesbian
women are exhaustively searched in round-ups at clubs frequented by gays and lesbians and are also subject to aggression, physical abuse and robbery by the police who, in most cases, claim they were looking for drugs”. Added to this, she faces serious risk from a dangerous Costa Rican gang which she has had dealings with in the past. Given the homophobic and racist nature of the police, it is to be expected that she will not be able to obtain protection from them against this gang. Nzinga is still coping with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (documented by Psychologists at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and other clinics) due to the abuse she experienced in Costa Rica. Sending her back will re-inflame her psychological problems and stop her healing process.

Despite this, Immigration Canada determined that she would not be at risk if deported and ordered her to fly back to Costa Rica on December 1, 2003. She was forced to go “underground” and filed a humanitarian and compassionate leave application for status soon after that (in February of 2004) on the basis of risk and establishment.

Nzinga has worked tirelessly in the community as a volunteer at CKLN 88.1 FM Community Radio. She has also worked with the Latin American Coalition to end Violence Against Women (now called MUJER), the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre as a network administrator’s assistant, the Global African Congress, and as an outreach worker with the Black Coalition for Aids Prevention (BlackCAP). Her work is also being published in “A New Look at Heterosexism and Homophobia” being put out in collaboration with the McGill University for the Canadian Aids Society. She has been employed through out
her 6 years in Canada.



The Minister of Immigration, Joe Volpe, has the authority to intervene in any Immigration case. Please contact his office on Monday and urge him to:

* Grant WENDY MAXWELL a Temporary Resident’s Permit so that she can remain in Canada legally until her Humanitarian and Compassionate Leave application for permanent resident’s status is decided upon (the application was filed in February of 2004 and has been in the system for over a year now).

* Release Wendy Maxwell from custody immediately

If you are part of any broader organizations, please encourage them to contact the Minister as an organization in support of Wendy Maxwell.

In Toronto:
(416) 781-5583 (p)
(416) 781-5586 (f)

In Ottawa:
(613) 992-6361 (p)
(613) 992-9791 (f)


Black Krishna Brand

Philosophy -

Music -


2 many of God's kids, doing life-bids,
why grow up at all, they shoulda had SIDS,
'cause life ain't life, if life, is, in pain,
blind 2 sunshine, blinded by the pouring rain,

and in the fog, vision, is indecision,
bombing for happiness, with surgical precision,
3 surgical strikes, kill a poor community--
with all the hustlers in jail,
how can, there, be unity?

and with impunity, the lying liars lie,
secure they’ spots, while letting brothers die,
and so i cry, at collective inaction,
hope the search 4 a solution,
can start, to get some traction,

blastin' you facts, in slang, or perfect syntax,
grindin' my axe, on money stacks, tryin' to fight back,
so i write back, in answer to the call,
we ain't victims at all, unless we slaves, to the mall...


i’m a slave,
to the ball-and-chain,
of pleasure and pain,
highs and lows, got me goin', insane,
now i finna complain, but i ain't, just bitchin',
got love 4 god, but not, superstition,

my minds ammunition, is straight, critical thinking,
my nutz swole up, from a nite of hard drinking,
i finna throw up, from a nite of hard blinking,
pushing back tears, how can i get us all thinking?

can’t we all, be winking, at each other,
with a crooked smile?
'cause the 'hood, and the 'burbs,
already, swapped-styles!

so it don't make sense,
the separation of the nation,
anticipation of change, soon leads, 2 stagnation,
second generation, starts to hate, immigration,
in case the situation, screws up, they' playstation,

then ya social circles shrink,
and ya mind, gets stale,
see the world is hell,
so vote, 2 refuse, kids bail...


Sunday, March 06, 2005

BKBA - Tupacumentary: Living How You Want To Live

(Throwback blog...)

November 28, 2003

Tupacumentary: Living How You Want To Live

Here's a hidden fact: you want to be like Tupac. Not like Mike. Not like Shaq. Like Tupac. Another hidden fact: Tupac was not like Kobe, who has defenders willing to kill for him and the press giving him the benefit of the doubt. Tupac was extremely honest about his image minus spin-doctors, never cheated on his pregnant wife, and never had sex with the girl he went to jail for raping on the night he was accused of raping her, as the utter lack of evidence proved. Tupac when compared to any other "rock star" didn't do anything wrong, and in his own very unique way was everything any of us would want to be, we just don't understand it.

The image of Tupac was one you were taught to hate early, taught to fear, and yet these days hip-hop's influence has grown to where millions both black and white wear giant platinum crosses or other jewelry, flashy clothes, and joke like they're "playaz" and "gangstas", or by saying "whazzaaaaap" around the office. He was ahead of his time, influencing style and advocacy of socio-political equality and libertarian freedoms. He simply liked partying too, and we don't like our revolutionaries doing that, preferring Gandhi's fasting and vows of abstinence to essentially letting a "rock star" act like one. Most of us don't want to live a pious life, and if you were famous, you would like to express yourself freely without being judged a criminal for how you look, and thus never being truly free. A great actor, playing "America's nightmare" in movies like Juice and in videos had America scared without realizing what the original problem was, and he was the perfect object of hatred and paranoia who could potentially lead the neglected inner-cities to rise up against the suburbs. If you listen, you will learn that this is one of the smartest guys who ever lived, despite not usually wearing a Cosby-cardigan and glasses. Still, there were times he knew he had to, like on a Vibe Magazine cover for an important interview, just to make sure the mainstream took him seriously and read his defense against controversy. His messages were focused and brilliant, even though his diction was often not traceable back to the 19th century academic English standard we are afraid to deviate from to succeed in Western society. (I'm even afraid to do so in writing this, or you won't think I'm smart. Ya dig?) Besides, he wasn't talking to you, he simply invited you to listen. He was talking to his people, and advocating change and success in the ghetto, often a lost land in American culture discussed in terms of perpetual karma: ghettos are bad places with bad people, that's just the way it is. He reminded us we cannot be satisfied with civil rights progress in other areas, and that the ghetto situation is hellish and worth fighting for at least as much as Vietnam or Bosnia. "Brenda's Got A Baby" was a song about a 12-year old girl who got pregnant; "Dear Mama" was an ode to ghetto moms everywhere who raise their kids alone in poverty and crime and trying as hard as they could; and "Keep Ya Head Up" spoke to everyone in the ghetto, and if you listen, everyone in the world.

So, what's up with the "gangsta" stuff? Why would he soil his image like that and fail to sell much of the press and middle-America? Why didn't he tone it down so more people would listen? Two answers: he was representing what America had made in the ghetto, and saying hell with it, we're celebrating anyway (i.e. "Thug Life"); and he simply wanted to, as a vain handsome man who styled exactly the way he chose for various reasons, and whose fans loved him for it. In a free country, for the most part he lived a legally and morally sound life, only getting really angry towards the end of his five years in public life when his cries for change in the ghetto were largely ignored, his credibility was unfairly destroyed, and his justified fears about dying made him paranoid. He never attacked whites in anger like Ice Cube or Public Enemy did, and never sold drugs like 50 Cent did. He had balanced views of women the way Snoop Dogg never did, and he never had sex with minors like R. Kelly or Roman Polanski did. He had a reason to get famous and a responsibility to use it the way no rapper and few artists have ever had, including Eminem. He and Biggie Smalls are considered the greatest rappers ever, but B.I.G. (R.I.P. homie) never took nor was given the weight of the world, and never had the potential or inclination to change it the way Tupac had. This young man who lived a hellish youth and was looking to finally relax and enjoy life, initially had merely great ideas and a flair for inspiration, and those double-edged swords made him a leader of his people. At age 20 and given the same job as Malcolm X and Dr. King to save at-risk ghetto black youth, it's a wonder he didn't crack under the pressure. He could have chosen to make great party-music, instead he wondered: how can I represent my people? How can I be a gangsta and revolutionary intellectual? The film reveals some of his accomplishments, though he made it hard on himself by walking the line in his own way, consistently expressing himself with an often ironic honesty. So many people have missed the point, refuse to put his mistakes in context, and will continue to do so because of their ingrained prejudice against their image of him. Still, he deserves your respect: it's one thing to simply choose to fight for the revolution, it's entirely another when millions believe you may actually be able to win it.

To the majority, and white liberals per se, the simplest analogy would be Marilyn Manson: you can see how stupid it is that conservatives can't see past his appearance and realize that he's simply an intelligent entertainer with another opinion and way of living (see: Bowling For Columbine). Eminem as well, who's had a chance to repair his public image as a crazy vile malcontent to now being considered a true artist. If any of this resonates, then you have to review your views of Tupac, as his views were even more mainstream (read: closer to yours) than Manson's or Eminem's. And if you're a conservative and against him on principle, better know thy enemy, because millions of people want to live in a world where racial and gender equality and opportunity are prevalent, and where no one's morality is dictated to them unless it's to prevent hurting someone else.

I had recently had a nice discussion with a young lady, in her mid-20's and white, who re-confirmed her "strong" opinion that Tupac was nothing but a gangster, and that any message he may have had was ruined because of it, and, by logical extension, his immoral behavior. I then asked her how much information she had on him to form a "strong" opinion, and she said very little. I then asked her why she had a "strong" opinion about something she knew almost nothing about, and she didn't know. This was not meant to be insulting, but rather enlightening, showing how we have predisposed views to look at an image and form "strong" opinions that stereotype black males, and will quickly default to those in the absence of any real evidence. This young lady was not a racist, but she was sure trained to be, and conceded a white rock star would be easier to forgive knowing almost nothing about them. My own views were similarly realized in seeing the film, as I found the negative press footage I'd been sold had clouded my judgment. This is similar to any prejudice: i.e. women dressed sexy are sluts, black men in nice cars are probably thugs who stole them, Goths dressed in black are freaks, etc. The logical extension of desiring everyone be and act the same was taken to its conclusions by Hitler, Pol Pot, and others, and it wasn't pretty.

You don't have to like Tupac or his music, but you have a responsibility not to hate him on principle or for racist reasons, recognizing and defeating your own prejudices to make a better world. Study the reviews of the movie, there are many that default to a negative view of the individual in lieu of discussing the content or style, and others that complain it's too sympathetic, as if he didn't deserve our sympathy after years of hatred. I dare you to find someone complaining about the same in a future documentary of say, Johnny Cash. Look at the bigger picture, because by making the struggle "theirs" as opposed to "ours", you are illustrating the exact problem Tupac gave his life trying to solve. So go and listen to his response in Tupac: Resurrection, and you'll see that despite what you think, at heart you and Tupac aren't that much different, and he wanted exactly what you wanted, to be free...