That Was Wild

Among the titles from this year’s Sundance that have made it to my Netflix recommendations, Wild Wild Country is the first that I’ve sat down and watched so far.

Now off rip, I wasn’t swayed by the title. Wild Wild Country: I didn’t know what I’d be getting myself into with that. But after reading the description and learning that the Duplas brothers had a hand in producing the series, I reconsidered. The Duplas brothers, Mark and Jay, have been working in film a long time and I’ve been an admirer of theirs for some years now.

So I said, “fuck it, I got some time to kill” and pressed play.

This series has me feeling all kinds of ways.

The doc is about this “cult” of Rajneesh. Baghwan Shree Rajneesh a.k.a Osho. I certainly wasn’t familiar with the title Baghwan, but Osho I was familiar with. People like to quote him a lot on Instagram and Tumblr. Osho was a spiritual teacher who believed that utopian society was possible and developed a whole spiritual teaching based on this belief. He had an ashram in India, but where this series starts is when he and his followers decide to pick up and leave Puna, India and set up shop in Oregon, near the town of Antelope, Oregon.

Already I’m like, “Oregon, tf?”

But it gets crazier. Evidently, the Baghwan had bags and he bought several thousand acres of land – 80,000 to be exact – to build his new utopian city. And oh, did people come out.

These “sannyasins” were out in Oregon deep af. ENTER Ma Amand Sheela. personal secretary to Osho who managed the newly established Rajeeshpuram in Wasco, Co., Oregon.

You can say a lot about her but all I’ll say is that, she was strategic in making sure that her job, as the “spokesperson” for the Baghwan and his ashram, was done efficiently and effectively………. even if those methods were illegal/not entirely ethical.

List of charges against Sheela:

  • Attempted murder
  • Voter fraud
  • Wire tapping
  • Arson
  • Conspiracy
  • Immigration fraud

In a timeline of about four years, Ma Amand Sheela and her “cabinet” of sorts, transforms this sex-positive, peace promoting, truth seeking sannyasin movement into an army, having so much control over those closest to her that she could talk them into murder. MURDER.

It’s truly an enthralling tale and it all went down in little ole’ Wasco County, Oregon.

I don’t know about y’all, but I must have missed this page in my history books. Or maybe it was conveniently left out, who can really say?

Moral of the story: The series raises philosophical questions and grapples with some seemingly contradictory forces: hippies strapping up, Christians being intolerant, the nature of conviction vs. control. Sometimes, in life, there are moments where I’m like “Y’all serious right now?” Real life is often times more fantastical, frightening, and unexpected than what any imagination can conjure. The world is as frightening as it is fascinating. Even if you couldn’t care less about the philosophical implications of this whole Rajneeshpuram debacle, the series is sure to make you think, “What the fuck,” on more than one occasion.

 

 

I Can’t Live Without My Radio

Let’s kick off the first post of 2018 with some culture.

I was scrolling through IG and Charlemagne the God posted this.

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As spicy as Charlemagne can be, he has his moments.

Every now and then I write about some of my favorite artists making their way through the radio circuit promoting their newest latest… or trying to save face… or just deciding to drop in. A lot of great artists have been interviewed on The Breakfast Club.

In the context of hip hop, DJs have mythological status. They have a special place in the culture.

I feel like disk jockeys are always portrayed as being “that nigga.” They get respect, they have clout, they usually have a way with words.

They are some of the most memorable characters in television and movies. Of course, Martin and Senior Love Daddy are fictional, but it’s plenty of very real DJs that live and breath this same air that pushed the culture of hip hop.

From people like Stretch and Bobbito who were pioneers of the “urban radio” movement to the vets like Angie Martinez, Ebro, Sway, Heather B, Big Boy, and DJ Envy and Angela Yee, and Charlemagne and allem at the Breakfast Club, they get my respect. The culture owes a lot to them.

Moral of the story: It’s so dope to watch hip hop grow and evolve. DJs were the first foot soldiers of the genre. Somebody had to spin those records, right? Somebody had to play those records at the block parties and the basketball parks.

And even though Charlemagne says some spicy shit from time to time, you can’t knock his influence. He’s been working a long time to afford to be that inflammatory and for that, he gets all my respect.

Seventh day of Kwanzaa: Imani

Habari gani? Imani

Faith.

To believe, with all our heart, in our Creator, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

That’s the motto for this year.

Faith in self and faith in the process.

To reiterate, Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday. This definition of faith exists outside of any religion. It’s something akin to the idea of trusting in the universe, of trusting in the way of things, of simply believing that anything is possible.

“It begins with a belief in the Creator and in the positiveness of the creation and logically leads to a belief in the essential goodness and possibility of the human personality. For in all African spiritual traditions from Egypt on, it is taught that we are in the image of the Creator and thus capable of ultimate righteousness and creativity through self-mastery and development in the context of positive support. therefore, a faith in ourselves is key here, faith in our capacity as humans to live righteously, self-correct, support, care for and be responsible for each other and eventually create the just and good society.”

We must invent, innovate, reach inside ourselves and dare set afoot a new man and woman. The world and our people are waiting for something new, more beautiful and beneficial from us than what a past of oppression has offered us. Let us not imitate or be taught by our oppressors. Let us dare struggle, free ourselves politically and culturally and raise images above the earth that reflect our capacity for human progress and greatness. This is the challenge and burden of our history which assumes and requires a solid faith.

— words from Maulanga Karenga

This commercial is why I will always have a profound respect for Steve Jobs. I know, I know, I’ve heard he was kind of a dick, he was selfish, blah, blah. These are character traits I don’t wish to imitate for obvious reasons.

But what I cannot take away from him was his vision.

I mean, it’s a reason I’m typing this up on a Macbook Pro right now.

What is it that makes people believe that they can move mountains? What is it that pushes people to create? What compels people to think differently?

Faith.

January 1st always feels like a reset button for me.

Habari gani? Imani.

#2018leggo

6th day of Kwanzaa: Kuumba

Habari gani?

Kuumba

Creativity.

To always do as much as we can, in the way that we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Where to begin?

This year I’ve definitely been exercising my creativity. Creativity is like a muscle. If you’re constantly using it, it grows stronger but once you lay off, it atrophies.

I don’t believe in art for art’s sake. I don’t believe in anything for it’s own sake, really. I don’t write because I like to read my thoughts back to myself. I mean, I do, but I have a journal for that.

I write in the hopes that someone will get something out of it. Every time I read a reassuring comment or positive feedback, I feel like I’m doing what I’ve set out to do.

Kuumba means creativity.

I actually did manage to accomplish one of my resolutions from last year, and that was to create something everyday and more specifically, to make it my mission to make this blog a priority. And now it feels like I’ve hit my stride.

So it’s onward and upward from here.

#2018leggo

12.30.17

Habari gani? Nia

Purpose

Make building and developing our community our vocation. So we may restore our traditional greatness.

This year I’ve grown stronger in my purpose.

Issa Rae once said, “Don’t network up, network around,” or something to that effect. And this is really the plan of action for 2018. This past year was really about proving to myself that I could do this blogging thing. Now that I’m a year in this thing with some dope content and even more on the way, it’s about making this shit pop in 2018. And I’m not necessarily looking to be social media famous or anything like that. I want to save my writing and perspective more widely. I have so much tings to say right now. And I want to use my voice and presence to affect change.

I’m not gone announce my moves just yet. I’m moving in silence until I see my opening then I’m pouncing. Iss chess moves, b.

I’m claiming having my shit together in 2018. I finished college this year, I started a blog, I learned a lot, and I got exposed to a lot of new ideas and things.

And I think I might be making a BIG move, come summer time.

Moral of the story: I have to keep walking in this to make the dream real.

I’ve been listening to this track a lot. I fux with the Big Baby. He’s fun. I like his attitude. And his music just makes me want to smile.

This track is definitely one for the NYE playlist.

Nia.

Purpose.

#2018leggo

12.29.2017

Habari gani? Ujamaa

Cooperative economics.

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and businesses and to profit from them together.

All in all, 2017 has been a financial come up for me. I’ve had the same job for a year making relatively good money for a college student. I pay my rent on time and my bills are paid and I can still budget the rest to have enough for groceries, some light shipping, and some recreational substances.

I’ve by no means mastered this adulting thing but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made this year. Stability is really the key.

As I plan to grow my financial literacy in the next year. I really want to start investing my money in some black owned businesses.

Instagram is a great place to find some new inspirations. I want to start incorporating a fashion/style element to the site next year because I’ve come across tons of cute shit on the gram and I want to incorporate some of the pieces that I’ve found into my own wardrobe.

In 2018, I’m making more of an effort to not just master my own finances but putting my money back into the community as well. I don’t know how much attention y’all pay to bitcoin and the whole cryptocurrency wave but last week Bitcoin fell like 40%.

Why?

People were selling out. Literally selling their bitcoins to cash out for the holidays. And the value of the shit plummeted.

Why?

Because Bitcoin and cryptocurrency lives and dies with the community built around it. And that’s really what I think is the most genius part of it. It works like gang busters, so long as people stay invested and dedicated to it.

This year I’m spending my coins at some black owned businesses.

As my plans to start working on some fashion/style content come together, I already have a working list of some pieces I’m dying to add to my collection.

Ujamaa.

Collective economics.

#2018leggo

12.28.17

Habari gani: Ujima

Collective work and responsibility.

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

The Day is on Its Way] I wrote a post earlier this year about one of Chance the Rapper’s performance on Fallon. He was accompanied by 2017 stand out, Daniel Caesar. And if you’ll take a sec to click back to that post, it gave me all my life.

I can’t say it enough. I really feel like Chance is a man of the people. A leader in the community for sure. The amazing thing about the whole BLM movement is that there isn’t one single leader. Leadership is a team sport and I think we’re starting to see the evidence of that through social media, society, and even in the music.

I write a lot about music and 2017 was a good year. Really the past few years have produced some iconic artists. I got to go to Afropunk this year for the first time and a bitch lived. I flew to D.C. first to link up with the homie, Reu, and then the game began.We lived our own, black ass Jumanji adventure that weekend. Being there felt so right. There was nothing but good vibes, good weed, and good music, and if I’m telling the truth, I don’t know if ever felt a stronger sense of belonging and acceptance than while I was there.

Freedom.

It’s true what they say about finding strength in numbers. As we go into 2018, I want to collaborate more. I want to share more. I want to do more for the community in what ways that I can.

Collective work and responsibility.

Am I my brother’s keeper?

Sho nuf. Ya dig?

Happy Kwanzaa, Y’all 12.27.17

Habari gani? Kujichagulia.

Self determination.

To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.

I’ve really been thinking about the fact that I actually maintained a blog for a whole year a lot. Like that’s really my main accomplishment this year, besides finishing college and all. I hold it higher than graduating, actually. I’m genuinely proud of this.

All accomplishments are attributable to some amount of self-determination.

In 2018, I plan to take this blogging thing full throttle. I like what I’ve got going here. Barring some consistency, I think this year has been a success on the ethnic hair section. This year has had no shortage of inspiration.

I blog about a lot of my favorite people making shit happen: Issa Rae, Chance the Rapper, Ava DuVernay, Justin Simion, Michaela Coel, Lena Waithe, Donald Glover, The Migos, and Drake. They’ve shown me that where I want to go is a real place. It just takes a whole helluva lot of work to get there. But work don’t scare me.

Challenge mfn accepted.

Kujichagulia means self-determination.

And I’m determined to shake some shit up some way, some how.

12.26.17

My family’s celebrated Kwanzaa since I was a kid. I always kind of felt like it was a special thing and in many respects, it means more to me than Christmas.

Today’s the first day of Kwanzaa.

Habari gani? Umoja

Umoja means unity.

I write a lot of social commentary. That’s really the reason d’etre for the ethnic hair section.

These are dark times, there is no denying.

The forces that seek to divide and destroy us seem plenty. From the election of Donald Trump, police, the Justice system, the American government and really just white people, in general, it’s starting to look like we could be witnessing an unprecedented era of division, distrust, and disappointment.

In layman’s terms, it’s getting hectic out this bitch.

Like, fuuuuuuuck.

But even while knowing all that, I kinda fuck with the idea of the downfall of the republic. College has made me quite the anarchist.

Cause it might honestly do us some good???? Maybe we’ll realize life is so much more rewarding when we stand together???? Like maybe social stratifications and economic gaps and racism and sexism and xenophobia are all byproducts of a single source????

If we get through life, we get through together. And we’ll all realize it sooner or later.

Idk, this is my second attempt at doing a Kwanzaa series. Last year’s was a fail lol but I’ve been reflecting on my content from this past year and I want to take this week to try to unpack all that shit. I have a lot more material to reflect on so this should be interesting.

Umoja means unity, y’all.

Happy Kwanzaa, y’all.

Er’Body Black

I neglected (unknowingly) to mention another show in a previous post.

Lena Waithe’s been on my radar for a while now. From back when Dear White People, the movie dropped. I only knew her to be a producer and later found out through my research into Justin Simeon’s career, that she was also a writer and had made a show called 20s.

Then she pops up again with Aziz Ansari on Master of None and wins an Emmy for her Thanksgiving episode.

Not to mention, she’s been putting in work for a while now behind folks like Gina Prince Bythewood and Ava DuVernay.

Long story short: My bitch is on fye.

The this dropped about a month ago:

Yes, yes, y’all. Lena Waithe’s The Chi is coming to Showtime next year and it looks damn promising.

I’m really excited to see Jason Mitchell in a leading roll. Mitchell is most known to me for playing the hell out of Eazy E in Straight Outta Compton. He bodied that roll.┬áHis performance in the Netflix original, Mudbound, was phenomenal as well.

Showtime released the first episode of the series earlier this week and I’m hooked.

Prediction: This will be another stand out year for television. I’ll be rooting for everybody black. Lena Waithe. Justin Simien, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Donald Glover – they’re really proving themselves to be vanguards of this revolution in television and film. Even during one of the darkest hours in American history, they’re here to let you know that one monkey ain’t gone stop the show.

And that’s black excellence.