Ace's View

Dedicated to minority issues, topics and everything in between

Archive for April 2013

Lost, In The ‘Woods

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(Writer’s Note: I typed a lot earlier, deleted it, and said fuck it, and retyped it again.

This space is mine, and if I step on your fingers or toes while I’m writing, good.  This means I’m probably talking about you.  Maybe this will change some things.  But I know better.)

A few months ago, me and my wife went to Chicago to attend one of her co-worker’s graduation party.  And, like most social events that I find extremely awkward and get invited to and know almost no one, I found myself engaged in small talk with a couple of people.  This ultimately leads to more involved conversation, with me ending up at a table with my wife, the guest of honor’s father, and one of her relatives.

Without going too much into the story, another one of the father’s daughters was undergoing a roommate conflict at our old university.  He’d had quite a few beers before and during his retelling of the story; but we were pretty much agreeing with the daughter and saying, wow, that seems unreasonable on the other girl’s part.  

Until:

Dad: And, you know, she’s from Maywood, too.  So, you know.

Me: No.  (pause) What do you mean?

Dad: Aw, come on.  You know.  People from Maywood–

Me: (noticing my wife cringing out of the corner of my eye, because she doesn’t know if I’m going to react like me from 5 years ago or me now) Nah.  How do people from Maywood act?

(other guy begins to notice that it’s a trap, starts sweating)

Dad: …I’m just saying, would you marry someone from Maywood?  (looks at my wife) Would you?

Me: (fake smile)  She did.  I’m from Maywood.  Lived there most of my life.

*awkward silence, other guy facepalms*

Me: (standing up, looking at wife)  Ready?

_________________________________________________________________________

I don’t mind defending where I’m from.  There is good there.  And I have seen it, firsthand.

What I have seen more of lately are the things that make it hard to defend against.  

Take for example, what brings me back to writing today, a few days earlier than I planned:

1-year old Bryeon Hunter is presumed dead, because someone grew frustrated with their inability to potty-train him.  Though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a lie either.

The original lie, about him being abducted by three Hispanic men in a 2-door sportscar with tinted windows (which also sounds like an excerpt from Chapter 1 of a book called How To Get Immediately Pulled Over In The Western Suburbs), is what spurred me to remember the conversation that I had at that party, and thoughts that people have of the city that I spent the majority of my young life living in.

I mean, why do people think that all Maywood produces is black people who are…you know…

So I read this story from CBS Chicago and as I always do to further infuriate myself, scrolled on down to the comments.

Where they call the woman of this child everything but a child of God, and 95% of the comments are based not off of her despicable behavior as a person, but of her as a black person.

Which is where I have a conundrum.

See, I defend my town all day long, all the time.  But there comes a point when I switch from Yahoo! news or other open news forums and need a break from my people being called niggers, miscreants, and pavement apes (yeah, that was a new one I saw today)–

–only to log onto Facebook and see a couple of us from the same neighborhood carrying on in the same manner that embraces and celebrates this kind of behavior.

I said in February that I was sick of the memes that made fun of black history.  And the ‘niggas/bitches be like’ of the same genre.  

Now it appears that half of the stuff I see on my page is a meme waiting to happen, from people on my friends list.

I can’t believe you’re trying to uplift our community while you’re wearing a ‘Buss It Down’ shirt.  Or take you seriously if you’re posing with a mayoral candidate in Maywood wearing an “I’m Not Sober” hoodie.

And for those who will be quick to fill my inbox up with the “oh, you’re just hating, they getting money” action–answer me this:

Is this how we get it?  Is this the only way?

If your driver’s license says “Maywood,” are you only guaranteed success if you’re in entertainment or playing basketball?

And, is this possibly why people feel like they know exactly what Maywood is about because this is what they see that our city produces?

To that point, I’ve only ever heard us call it ‘Murdawoods’.  Like it’s something to be proud of.  We wear that like a badge of honor.

And for this, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  

Until we stop popularizing the culture that is killing our neighborhood, stories like this will continue to come out of Maywood, and be what it is known for rather than the great people that come out of the city and never return.

When will it change?

When we stop calling it Murdawoods.  When the only new businesses that open in our city aren’t currency exchanges and beauty supplies owned by people who have no vested interest in improving our community, or who may not even live there.  When there is not an overwhelming number of liquor and convenience stores, but not one damn grocery store.  When more than 20% of the population turns out to vote in the aforementioned election from earlier in the month.  When the funeral home on Madison isn’t the only successful business that is guaranteed to have customers.

And so, back to the woman and child who are the main reason I am writing this today:

I hope that the story ends with her having nothing to do with her child’s disappearance and possible murder, and that there is more to the story.

But, again, I know better.

All we need is to give people one more reason to keep thinking we’re residents of hell.

And as long as we continue to celebrate it, that’s what it will keep feeling like.

More tomorrow.

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Written by aceviewblogger

April 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm

N*ggas in Cuba

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Jay: “It’s a 12-megapixel camera. …What? These tickets weren’t cheap…”

 

For all that goes on in the world, and is currently going on in the world, there are a couple of non-issues that some people are way too happy to fight.

And yes, I have been guilty of this at times.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t’ notice when something is being blown way out of proportion.  

Like the story over Jay-Z and Beyonce going to Cuba for their five-year wedding anniversary.  

I normally wouldn’t write about it at all, because I feel like as citizens of a free country, you should be able to go and travel wherever you please, so long as you’re not engaging in any fuckery while you’re there that you can’t engage in here.

More on that in a second.

But because Cuba is a country that is pretty much in the same boat as North Korea and China (Brokedown Palace is still a terrifying movie, if you haven’t seen it, watch) in terms of being viewed as the antonym of democracy (i.e., communism), anyone who even goes there as a tourist is immediately frowned upon.

So there is this: I think that it’s more of a problem because of who they are, and how seriously the rest of the world takes them.

The reason I say this is because in the past few years, black people like the Carters–with any type of voice, charisma, power or financial status are instantly branded with having ties to the mysterious Illuminati.  

Let’s not forget that before that, it was being linked to communism that was the scarlet letter for black celebrities and people of status.

And note I said black celebrities and people of status, as you might have noticed Dennis Rodman going to North Korea and pretty much becoming a punchline after the fact.  It’s because despite his best efforts, nobody really takes Dennis Rodman seriously.  And he probably has more money than me, but who doesn’t? that still isn’t enough money for anyone to be threatened by.

No, the problem is that someone with status went to visit a place where we don’t agree with their rules and policies, and how they treat their citizens.  And therefore, that worries people who think for a second that hey, what if they become influenced while they’re over there?

‘Cause, y’know, communism is contagious.  Can’t have the second most famous black couple come back from traveling and try to redistribute the wealth.

(This sounds a bit ridiculous, but come on.  There’s a reason why the government kept files on celebrities as long as they did back in the early formation of the FBI and CIA.  They influence the people.  I mean, imagine if Jigga went to Cuba and had an experience like Snoop in Jamaica and came back talking about, I saw the ghost of Che, he told me to get it how he did?)

Where do we draw the line with who gets to go where?  And why are we the ones who get to draw it?

I don’t see the U.S. government restricting travel to places like Amsterdam, where a lot of drugs are now legal for open use–but it could harm our citizens.  Y’know, ’cause drugs are bad.

Or, how about restricting or banning travel to countries where, say, child sex trafficking is not only rampant, but is often given the blind eye treatment?

There are a bunch of other examples that could be given, but it makes me question what some people deem worth a Congressional investigation when, in the meantime, we’re still discussing issues like this.

Or, this.  Or this here.

Point is, we live in the biggest glass house on Earth and we don’t appear to be running out of stones anytime soon.

Jasiri X Responds to Rick Ross.. Teams Up w/ Brother Ali About Pillars

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A nice continuation to the Rick Ross piece from the other day–https://theaceviewblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/keep-it-real-rick-ross/

Jasiri X is one of the few left.

More tomorrow.

Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

Jasiri X Know thyselfPittsburgh rapper and activist Jasiri X has been on fire… His new album Ascension is  masterpiece spawning several videos which are on point and inspiring.. The music is soulful.. The subject matter is thoughtful.. He’s also been focusing on subject matter that takes you deeper terrain then we normally travel in Hip Hop, but has been rooted in a tradition of African-American music ala Afrika Bambaataa, George Clinton and Sun-Ra before him.. He’s been talking about life and times beyond our  earthly dimensions as well as religion…Cuts like Wheels best illustrate this.. The videos to the song Pillars featuring Brother Ali also touch in that direction..

Yesterday we sat down w/ Jasiri X and Interviewed him… here’s our Breakdown FM Intv

Check out the videos below..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ulCIjvKmT0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQknHopm0_E

Jasiri X has also been keeping his shoulder to the grind as an activist.. Him and his partner Paradise Gray from…

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Written by aceviewblogger

April 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Celebrity Open Letter #1: A Letter to Lupe Fiasco

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Dear Mr. Jaco,

Before I started writing this letter, two things came to mind:

1)      I have been a fan of your music since you were featured on Kanye’s “Touch The Sky” and remember thinking, who is this guy?

2)      I have been a fan of your actions since I read your interview with XXL Magazine, right around the time that Lasers came out and you went to war with your record label.

(Also, excuse the formalities in me using your last name, but I’ll explain why in a few.)

Back to the two items listed above–as big of a music fan as I am, I’ll have to say that the latter of the two would be the most important to me.  And here’s why:

Judging by my Facebook newsfeed, I have nearly 400 friends, of which more than half post and update frequently.  At least 10 of these people call themselves rappers or producers.  Only two are any good.

By the same token, there are only two of the same nearly 400 people who regularly update about things important to the communities in which they live.

They talk about how hard it is to find work.  The things they go through to get themselves and their children to and from school safely.

They post about eating well, living right, posting thought provoking images and start discussions with their statuses on everything ranging from politics to the violence that has been plaguing our city…

…hell, maybe I need better Facebook friends.

But I digress.

This has shown me that it is far easier to entertain than to do something that will matter in the grand scheme of things.

And so I am writing this letter to you, to be posted at sundown when most of the participants in the Project Orange Tree movement are just finishing fasting and gearing up for Day 2 (a movement, by the way, which is showing itself to be a brilliantly organized and thought-out response to draw attention to the violence) and the Lupe Fiasco Foundation, to tell you all thank you.

It takes a person of character to constantly fight against the way things are when people are constantly trying to get you to leave the status quo the way it is.

For every 100 rappers out here that stand for nothing in the pursuit of money and fame, there is at least one who actually stands on principles and values.

I have to appreciate anyone who will write a column in the Chicago Sun-Times to support a youth movement that is against violence.  Who debates with other rappers and comedians, ranging from intellectual to misguided youth from the same city, in order to create dialogue about what’s really going on with us.  Who will speak his mind and give his opinion on things that matter to him, regardless of whether that opinion is popular among the rest of us or not.

You, sir, stand for something.  And that is commendable in a day and age where there are so many people who follow blindly behind those who do not have their best interests at heart.

Thank you for not hiding behind the artist and a stage name, and for standing as yourself.

My grandfather once told me that the best thing you can do when people are doing the wrong thing around you is to do the right thing. And if that’s not available or an option, do the best thing that you can think of.

Either way, the important thing is that now, there is a choice.

As a result of social media, I am now aware of your foundation and will be taking the proper steps in the next few weeks to help out in any way I can, as well as wearing as much orange as possible, miles away from my city, just to draw more attention to the cause.

I have made the choice to help because I was told that there is one, and that I, like everyone else who has the same capacity and drive to make Chicago a place where your 4-year old niece does not have to devise ways to keep children inside to keep them alive, have alternatives to violence.

So, thank you for giving Chicago something that it usually doesn’t get from its rap artists–a choice.

Sincerely,

-Ace