Ace's View

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Archive for February 2015

On The Oscars and Recognizing Our Own Excellence

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ptah oscar

As we normally do on Sunday nights, me and my wife prepare our post-toddler bedtime television viewing programs by setting reminders on the cable box.

Normally it’s whatever’s on until Walking Dead, including special programming, and then after that, news or something a little more lighthearted until bed.

A couple of weeks ago, it was the Grammys, which reminded me of what I wouldn’t be watching at all tonight.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards (or, more popularly known, the ‘Oscars’) is tonight.

And for once in several years, not one of the nominees in any of the major categories is a minority. ¬†An all-white field is what the Academy has to choose from this year, which, judging by the makeup of the voters who decide on the awards (over 90% of the voters are Caucasian)–isn’t really a surprise.

But I’m not actually here to write about that today.

What I would rather address is why we seek this acknowledgement from others who refuse to accept us in any roles other than what they are comfortable seeing us in.

Think of it this way: without me posting a link giving away any of the answers, think of the last few black Academy Award winners and the awards given to them.

Now, think of the roles that they played.

Take it a step further and think of the last Spanish actor to win the Supporting Actor award.

Who–or what–did he play?

It has long been understood that you cannot gain acceptance from those who refuse to accept you.

So instead, perhaps we should divert the energy we spend protesting and demanding to be included in award ceremonies that were not intended to reward our talents in the first place.

And before anyone comments “well, the head of the Academy is a black woman,” might I refer you to the statue in the picture above that the Oscar statue is based on.

Putting a black face at the head of the ceremony or copying the culture does not equate to including us, at all.

Just wanted to make that clear.

In the meantime, you all let me know who wins tonight on Facebook or Twitter, because I’ll be in the middle of watching the walkers.

For now, I’m out.


Written by aceviewblogger

February 22, 2015 at 4:02 pm

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Introducing Luvvie

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Well, this is awesome. & I’ll be buying some as soon as I get paid tomorrow.

*Not to be confused with Luvvie Ajayi over at But I bet she’d be with it. ūüôā


Luvvie Luvvie (TM)

When I was growing up, I couldn’t go into a store or marketplace offering baby food that didn’t have the Gerber Baby on it.  I wondered why we, as Africans, didn’t have our own line of baby products with a child on the logo that looked like us. After much contemplation, we decided to create our own line of organic Baby Soap and Bum Balm that would represent us as a global nation.

This beautiful, Afrikan baby picture was commissioned by the very talented artist, Moni Rickert.

Introducing Luvvie…

Luvvie Baby soap

Luvvie Baby soap2

An organic baby soap made with all natural ingredients from my farm. Hand cut and sliced, it is delicately scented with the sweet scent of fresh chamomile and lavender. The Luvvie Bum Balm is 100% vegan and whipped with raw Shea Butter and vegetable oils. We used natural anti-bacterial peppermint from my garden to help heal and soothe diaper…

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Written by aceviewblogger

February 20, 2015 at 10:41 am

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On Jackie Robinson West and Breaking The “Rules”

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Consider this, if you will:

Every year in Illinois, the high school teams that play for the Class A state basketball championship are usually from predominately black schools.

Never really becomes an issue of where the kids live when they win, place or show.

In fact, I can’t think of the last time since I’ve been aware of IHSA championship basketball that there has been a time where two teams have played each other in Class 1A that haven’t been all-black or predominately so.

And it’s a dirty little secret that most of these kids live outside of the school district they attend, in order to attend a school to benefit the athletics program.

So it’s really not a shocker to me that there was at least one player on the Jackie Robinson West team that was considered ineligible by Little League rules, at all.

What is infuriating is knowing that this isn’t just a case of a black team being caught breaking the rules and being punished–

–it’s that this is a common thing across the board, and only becomes an issue when they are crowned champions.

Especially after beating a white team to advance to the championship, while running up the score.

(Edit: the coach who “blew the whistle” on the falsified residential boundary map, Mike Janes of the Evergreen Park Little League, is the guy who coached the team that lost by over 40 points to JRW.)

Therein lies the difference.

Would have been a non-issue if Evergreen had won the game, but since they didn’t, the investigation was launched.

As one of my Facebook friends pointed out as she is apt to do, in the eyes of whites who control and operate the league, we are meant only to be entertainment.  When we become competition is when the trouble starts.

So, this got me thinking about my super brief stint in Little League as a kid.

And before realizing that baseball was not for me, at all, I got to see that there was a great disparity in the fields we played on.  They were unkempt and poor quality.

Our equipment fees barely covered uniforms, and those were of the iron-on number variety, with no names on the back and you took whatever size and number was still available.

Our concession stands were sparse and run by parents who volunteered, pulling double-duty while cheering on their kids playing on the field.  What little they had to sell, at least at the parks we played at, were gotten from the corner store or on at least one occasion, Jewel or some other actual grocery store, probably paid for out of the pockets of one generous person or from funds pooled together from the few adults who could take a night off work to bring their kids to the games.

I remember the one batting helmet we all had to share.  No bullshit.

And it all seemed okay to me at the time because that’s what I was used to, and I had nothing to compare it to.

Until, after I quit (I didn’t make it three games, admittedly), and went to attend the exhibition game that my old team played right down the street from my grandparent’s house, against a team of white kids from Oak Park.

And they showed up in bright green and gold uniforms.  Brand new cleats.  Gloves.  Last names stitched on the back of jerseys.  A coach in a matching team color windbreaker, even though it was unnecessary in 70-degree weather.

Wouldn’t you know they all had their own batting helmets?

And for once, all of the lights at the park seemed to work.

And that’s when I realized that something was very, very wrong here.

The disparity didn’t get any better when I reached high school and was able to travel to places like Glenbard North and Hinsdale, hell, any place outside of District 209–where I was in awe of the facilities that student-athletes had access to.

While we barely had a pool, they had a practice pool and a full competition pool.  When we had to roll up our wrestling mats and bring them into our main gyms before meets ourselves and lay them out, they had a crew to do that.  Weight room too small?  Unheard of.  Theirs were the size of our drill court (which was huge.)

I say all that to say this:

I realize that in spite of these disparities, we still produced some of the best athletes AND students in the area, who have gone on to do great things in Illinois and in the country.  This has more to do with our sheer determination to make do with what we were given, instead of having things handed to us.

The adage of having to be twice as good to get half as far is true, and even moreso in this case, because having a group of kids overcome the odds during one of the most violent summers in city and national history to win a national title, only to have it stripped from them on a technicality, is sickening.

But I’d be lying to myself and to you all if I was to say I was surprised.

And here is the thing I want folks to take away from this: collectively, black people who are aware of this disparity between areas in which we live versus areas that are an improvement will find a way to use it to our advantage.  It would be foolish not to.

It is why today we are willing to risk jail time to send our kids to schools in better districts, even if it is only slightly better.  Any improvement is better than none.

Hope is better than remaining hopeless.

Just to drive home my point:

During my time in grade school, right up until I graduated from Irving Elementary, I was consistently the top student in my grade level.  And, of course, based off of district rules, I attended Irving because my old address on 19th Avenue allowed me to be there.

But, here’s the kicker: I actually lived about 15 miles away in Summit, Illinois, which was as violent and as drug and gang infested as Maywood is right now. ¬†Probably moreso.

Guess whose parents got up and drove me, my brother and sister out to Irving every morning?  Whose grandparents let me use their address to register in District 89 so I could receive a better education than attending the ramshackle elementary less than a block away from my apartment building?  Why I stayed with one grandparent or another on weeknights when my parents were too tired to make that trip so I could get up and go to school in the morning?

Damn right.

I didn’t officially move to Maywood on 19th Avenue until I was 14 years old.

Somebody want to come take my 8th grade diploma from me, or nah?

I guarantee if I asked them would they do it over again in order to give their kids a better shot in this world, they’d say yes in a heartbeat.

And I’d do the same for mine.

If it means giving hope, I’m all about bending the rules.

I’m also for breaking the rules that keep disparities happening, because it’s not like they weren’t put in place for just that reason.

And at this point, I’m also for uplifiting these young brothers and telling them that they are still champions to all of the people that matter.

And no one can ever strip that from them.

Written by aceviewblogger

February 11, 2015 at 10:41 pm

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Open Letter #1: Marshawn Lynch

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Dear Mr. Lynch:

I want to start this off by making it clear and plain that I do not know you, nor have we met in life. ¬†I have only been familiar with your on-the-field game over the past couple seasons as a Seattle Seahawk–and most recently, this season, was introduced to your off-the-field personality when a picture of you that someone took in a Seattle Starbucks surfaced.

Truthfully, wearing a hoodie emblazoned with “Fuck You” several times over on the back would probably not endear you to a whole lot of people. ¬†And as taken aback by this as I initially was, I was also intrigued.

What is this man’s motivation, I wondered.

Then, the stories became more about your post-game interviews–or, lack thereof, I guess–and I started to notice a direct contrast in the way that the media portrayed you and your teammate Richard Sherman.

See, I’ve noticed that “they” call Sherman a “thug” because he is outspoken and opinionated.

These same folks call you a thug because of your refusal to speak on command.

And again, I will reiterate that I don’t know you personally, so I cannot and will not speculate on the reasons that you won’t do mainstream media interviews.

In my opinion, if you get paid to play a sport, the league being in your pocket because you won’t do interviews on command is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard of. ¬†And I was completely unaware this was a rule until you had all of this controversy surrounding you.

Well, the press conference you did a few days ago confirmed that here is a man who is completely aware of his place in this world and that some people want to control what comes out of his mouth, and when. ¬†But that doesn’t matter to a man who knows what he stands for and for who he plays the game for.

If I can find the clip of it, it’ll be posted right at the end of this sentence.

Allow me to paraphrase it, for those who can’t view the video: basically, beyond the people who really matter to you in this world (i.e., your family and close friends)–nothing really matters to you. ¬†When you go home at night, there are no media.

No flashing lights.  No microphones.  No fanfare, no players or coaches.

Just you, in your world. ¬†Surrounded by what’s really important: the people who you do this for.

And I respect that immensely, because I’m the same exact way.

So I will keep this short, brother, because I know that coming off of this tough-ass loss in one of the biggest games of your career is probably going to require being AWOL from Internet and what people are saying right now. ¬†And perhaps you’ll never read this, but I want you to know a few things just in case this makes it to you:

First, I struggled with doing a series of open letters, because there are a lot of things that I want to say to people that are considered celebrities, but I was unsure of how they would be received.  You have definitely shown me that no one can control your message unless you let them.

Second, I’ll be posting this entry and going immediately to buy a Beast Mode hat or T-shirt. ¬†You and your team may have lost a Super Bowl (this season, anyway) but you have definitely gained a fan in this brother from Maywood, Illinois.

Third, along those same lines: if you’re ever in my neck of the woods (Maywood being a suburb of Chicago, it’s pretty much the same damn thing–trust me) and doing that inner-city work with your charity that dude questioned you about during that recent press conference? ¬†Let me know how I can be of service.

Definitely about that action, boss.

(And if you want to do an interview, I ain’t mad at that either. ¬†Just throwing it out there. lol)

Finally–much respect to you on maintaining your blackness in a world where it is constantly harder each day to live as a black man. ¬†I’m not one for hero worship (by a long shot) but it is nice to be able to turn on my television with my young son and be able to point to an athlete that actually stands for his people. ¬†Shout out to my real Afrikans, for real.

Just thought I’d write this tonight, before I didn’t.

Peace and blessings to you.



Written by aceviewblogger

February 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

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