Illuminati Free Playlist: Strong Black Women being Strong, Black and Womanly

Straight up, I didn’t really know who Jean Grae was until Christmas. That’s when posts announcing the debut of Life With Jeannie started popping up on my facebook newsfeed.

I knew about her. She was chick with the tattoos floating just outside of my pop culture periphery. But if you asked me to name one song, I’d shrug. I’m into music, but in a fashion that is absolutely miopic and bull-headed. So, as I play Fela Kuti’s, Expensive Shit, over and over and over, a lot of good music slips by.

The sitcom is great, by the way. Wierd and Black and totally urban while side stepping every single Black urban stereotype there is. But that’s not why I’m playing Kill Screen in this here blog. Nah, this is my response to the backlash against Lupita Nyong’o.
Didn’t know about the backlash? Yeah, it’s out there. A tiny, smug and vocal minority of people wondering what the big deal is.
They say the movie wasn’t that good (I disagree), and her performance wasn’t that good (I totally disagree), and the Oscars shouldn’t have recognized her anyway. To which I say, blame the Oscars, not her. Or, better yet, find a hobby.
What’s the big deal? Well, she was very honest about her exeriences with colorism in America. She was given an opportunity to tell her story, she expressed it eloquenty and it resonated. Maybe not with you, but with a whole lot of other people. But if you don’t get something, it’s okay. Maybe its not yours to get.
What’s that got to do with Jean Grae? Nothing. But, as awesome as Nyong’o may be, there are as many ways to be awesome as there are jaws to be dropped by said awesomeness.
Jean Grae is my Nyong’o counterbalance. A sista whose raised the quest for individuality to a fine art. And the beauty of it is, you don’t have to give a damn about either one. They’ll be okay.


The Illumaniti Free Playlist: The one where Meshell Ndegeocello covers “Friends”

Once again, Afropunk is on point. They’ve tapped into a vein of Black incredible-ness and dropped this on us. I remain amazed.
I don’t have anything to add. I’ve listened to the song three times back to back and right after I push the Publish button I’m going to play Plantation Lullabies.
I tend to forget how dope she is. I need reminders. Thanks Afropunk!

Illuminati Free Playlist: Forget Nicki Minaj. Hear this instead

Last week the Nicki Minaj set the world on fire with pictures of herself in her natural state. Natural for her, anyway. The hair? It was straightened, and maybe augmented by bionic weave hair, but at least it wasn’t the color of a Highlighter. And she had makeup on… And black electrical tape on her nipples, because that’s how she wakes up, right? But some folks were mighty impressed. 

Those pictures were behind the scenes photos of her new video, Lookin Ass Niggas. 


The album cover featured this iconic picture of Malcolm X. I’m not going to put it here. Just look at it and imagine the words Lookin Ass Nigggas… Or, better yet, look at it and let the power of it sink in to your bones, and forget about plastic Nicki Minaj all together. Let’s all breath a collective Woosah… and remember that our music is so much deeper than that mainstream train wreck that is contemporary hip hop.

If you don’t like what she’s saying, or how she’s saying it, find something else to listen to. There’s actually a whole lot out there. Like this.

This is BLXPLTN, a Black punk band from Austin Texas. The second song is a middle finger to stop and frisk. All I know about them is what I learned on the Afropunk site.  Not much. But the song is the perfect antidote to Nicki Minaj’s ode’ to nigga, niggas, niggerism, and vacuous, plastic buffoonery.


Nina Simone does not approve.

Make it Bun Dem. Skrillex and Damien Marley

I saw this creep across my facebook feed yesterday.
I was sitting in a coffee shop. I turned down the volume all the way, and watched it.
I shared it almost immediately. My comment, “Awesome.”
It wasn’t until I got home that I heard the music. My wife had seen it on my feed. We wathed it together in the kitchen. Still awesome.

If you know me, you know that I am into the martial arts. I’m not a martial artist. They follow a more direct route. They either pick the art, or the art picks them. Then they practice. Attend class. Be humble. Practice more.
Endure bruises. Stick with it through those embarassing moments in the beginning where everything feels awkward. Stick with it, even after you feel like you get it. Because you probably don’t. And then one day, you get it.
That is the ideal path. It wasn’t my path, though.
Here are the footnotes.
I had a karate childhood, an Aikido college life, a modern wushu young adulthood. Again with the karate dabbling. Again with the aikido attempts – different style this time. Then judo. (yuck).
After that? Southern Praying Mantis, where I let my roots grow for about three years, before real life got in the way.
Then yang tai chi at an expensive place in Center City. Then another yang tai chi class, this time in Roxborough.
A smattering of Atienza kali followed by a short, sharp dose of Genbukan Budo Taijutsu… Capoeira… I think that’s it. Now I’m practicing Hsing Yi, which I like and will stick with for as long as I can. But like I said before, sometimes life gets in the way.
I like the martial arts. I think I will always practice the martial arts. But I’m not a martial artist. I’m something different.
I’ve often wondered what I was looking for. Between those styles I practiced Bikram yoga for some time. Then life got in the way. I also practiced the congas… which isn’t martial at all, but still seemed to get a lot of the same synapses firing… then, you know, life got in the way.
What was I looking for? Fighting ability? Hmmm. I’m 42. I haven’t gotten into a fight since high school. Providing our world doesn’t turn into an apolyptic distopia tomorrow, I think I’m okay. And if I did, I’d lament all of that time and money spent in various training studios and dojos, which could have been spent on bullets, guns and target practice. Give me that 40 year old Remington Wingmaster 12 gauge, a handful of shells and 40 hours of range time and I’ll take down any black belt; especially the zombie ones.
I wasn’t in search of tactical superiority. I was looking for the ritual. Something deep down in my DNA thirsted for the rites of passage of my ancestors. If I couldn’t kill a lion like the massai, maybe I could earn a black belt.
I wanted to be that kid, practicing the rain dance on a sandy circle in my backyard. So I practiced anything and everything that I could get my hands on. And I’m not the only one. How many kids joined gangs because they wanted to belong to something; anything? How many compromised themselves. Put themselves at risk, even if it was just for a moment, or a night? When they were really looking for something much deeper.

Ritual is revolution, if you do it right. If you lose yourself in it, and allow it to take you beyond where anyone else can touch you, you’ve exercised a power that makes nations tremble. Seriously. You might not be able to summon wolves or spirit totems, but if you can find peace during those moments when the world is trying its best to shake you to your foundation, then you’re pretty formidable. Even if you don’t know it.

Fake snow in Georgia? That’s just Stupid.

Update: The video was made private. I could find another one to replace it, but I won’t.

Who was the first guy to try to burn a snowball?
I get it. Cabin fever will have you doing some strange things. Of course, if you’re at home in the Atlanta Metro area, shut in by the snowpacolypse, I have news for you. It’s safe to go outside. Pry the wood boards off of your windows and stop rationing your Cool Ranch Doritos. You made it.
We should be picking up the pieces of our shattered lives and trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again; perhaps, the dew-mageddeon of the summer of 2015? Or the sunny-daypacolypse of 2016? I mean, if the powers that be can’t steer this ship through a crisis of such miniscule proportions as two inches of powdery snow, then we can barely trust them to get us through drizzle.
We need to be asking some questions of our leaders right now. There has been a lot of analysis about what happened Tuesday night, but The Day We Lost Atlanta says it best. It isn’t all Kasim Reed’s fault, nor can the blame be pinned on Atlanta’s notoriously bad drivers. (They are bad!) Turns out, the Atlanta Metro Area is a big, unmanagable mess, broken into too many small municipalities to mention, each with its own agendas and motivations. Trying to keep the roads clear and clean just underscores the problem. And if we don’t find a solution now, we’re in for some serious trouble down the road.
Or, we can attempt to burn snow. Which brings me back to the original question. Who thought of this?
There has been a rash of people trying to burn the snow in their yards. They say it burns like styrophome and smells like plastic. They say the snow isn’t real.
Where is the first guy who looked out his window and said, “You know what I’m going to do? Shovel it? No, there isn’t enough for that. I’m going to burn it… just a little bit…”
Who is that guy, because he is some kind of genius. He has managed to create a conspiracy even more ridiculous than the stupid, stupid truth. We weren’t the victims of poor planning, or bad drivers or bald tires… It wan’t even HAARP, which manufactures real weather (if you believe that stuff…), not fake, Walmart styrophome snow.

HAARP is a target of conspiracy theorists, who claim that it is capable of modifying weather, disabling satellites and exerting mind control over people, and that it is being used as a weapon against terrorists[citation needed]. Such theorists have blamed the program for causing earthquakes, droughts, storms and floods, diseases such as Gulf War Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, and the 2003 destruction of the space shuttle Columbia.

said Wikipedia

The snow deniers don’t give us a whole conspiracy. Missing is the motive; why just two inches? I mean, if things had gone as planned, a foot wouldn’t have stopped us. Also missing is the how – it’s not HAARP, because HAARP doesn’t create fake weather, it modifies real weather. Who? They don’t say, but if it was a cabal of people who wanted to make us look dumb, you guys are falling right into their hands!

I’ve watched a few of these segments now. I want to cry bullshit, every time I see them. I mean, I’ve been around a lot of snow. That white stuff outside looks, feels and acts just like a whole lot of other snow I’ve seen. The thing is, in my 42 years, I’ve never to burned it.

That’s the problem. This would be so easy to debunk if there was a public record of snow burning. But there isn’t. And why the hell would there be?

I love conspiracies. I watched every episode of Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory, as well as Ancient Aliens… Small Change… even Doomsday Preppers. And I believe some of it.
But this is stupid.
The snow is real. It’s doing what real snow does. Yes, I did burn myself a little bit. Damn you for making me, but it behaved like snow behaves. Don’t believe me? Try burning an ice cube. Pick one from your fridge. One that you are sure wasn’t placed there by aliens, or the illuminati, and burn it. My snowball compressed and turned black, but it never looked un-snowy. It did, however, smell.
Why does it stink? Maybe it is polluted. Maybe you’re smelling the fumes from your lighter. I don’t know. All I can say is, stop smelling your snow. I know I will. I don’t know you, but I know you have better shit to do than that.
Like I said, I’m down with a good conspiracy. Just the other day I watched a news-ish segment about a woman in Gary Indiana who lived in a haunted house, complete with a priest, frightened cops and a child who walked backwards up a wall. And, you know what? I believe it.
If you’re looking for something conspiratorial, click the haunted house link, and then sprinkle in a liberal dose of hip-hop illumaniti sacrifices. Let Google guide you. In a half hour you will have a conspiracy of your very own. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make a wikipedia page. But don’t burn anymore snow. Because this is the most stupid theory in an internet full of stupid theories. Besides, you have better things to do. Waffle House is open.

Illumaniti Free Play List: Disaster Kit!

This is the video for KRS-One’s song, Disaster Kit. For those of you who are new to the concept, this is your laundry list for when the other shoe falls, and the dead rise from their graves, or the Apes rise up, or Skynet switches on… Or the next Katrina hits. Or riots break out. Black outs… You get the picture.
It is a variation on the theme of the Bug Out Bag, something that has been a staple of the Prepper community for years. And if you think they are just being paranoid, you’re dead wrong. And I can prove it. You need look back no further than the last time mother nature gut-checked you.
For me it was February 5th 2010. We were living in Philly. My wife was very pregnant. That was the day category 3 blizzard began dumping snow on the city. By the end of the week, two weather events had come and gone, leaving the city beneath about five feet of snow.
I remember walking to the market the next day. Then to CVS. Then Rite Aid. Stores were closed. Shelves were empty. And if you didn’t live near a main artery; Walnut or Chestnut, Broad or Market, then the plows might not be able to dig you out. You were stuck.
These scenarios aren’t far out. In fact, they are inevitable.
I went ahead and wrote down the ingredient’s in KRS-One’s Disaster Kit, because I’m awesome. But listen to it anyway because he talks about attitude, which is vital, and can’t be purchased at Home Depot.
You’re welcome.