pp. i was scrolling through the “all-too-many-feeds” i subscribed to in google reader (like i’m really gonna read them all in this life-time) and caught a glimpse of a black and white youtube clip of freddie hubbard put up by hip hop is read. seemingly random and pleasant, i thought. hmm (mental sigh), i’ll star this and check it out later. never considered what youtube might have had on my all-time favorite brass player. kept perusing, starring other stories i may want to read later, “whoa, freddie again? does he have a new album?” rest.
f. and then i read the title: “for they reminisce over you…freddie hubbard”. this soulful brother had passed. my mind signaled right and moved into memory lane…
dissonance. i started trumpet at 8 years old. my grade school was starting a music program and i was open, day-dreaming about wooing a sardine-can packed audience with my ill arpeggios. i just knew i would be a sax player or maybe even get busy on the snare. but when my moms “persuaded ” me to consider the trumpet, in her “we can’t afford the other instruments, love” tone i was slightly disappointed. well, at least being in band would get me out of a boring class period. oh yeah! and i remember how cool dizzy gilespie seemed puffing his elastic cheeks out behind that bent-up horn of his in stevie wonderful’s, “do i do”. while trumpet was the more affordable choice , it was also the most demanding. with only three keys, searching but never quite finding the right note was common. so you have to get the sound right in your mind before the air even leaves your lips. the sax players didn’t have any problems like that, and they had something called a reed. “how come i don’t get a reed?” mistakes, disappointment and discouragement came frequently. fleeting embrochure, excruciating posture, shortness of breath in mid-note, the designated back row for trumpet players, smelly valve oil, spit valves. and then i found out that the dizzy gillespie’s bloated cheek technique was a cardinal no-no. ergh. rest. i was all but ready to give it up, but with
“you are the huckleberry beyond my persimmon…”
early african american courtship ritual saying
i gave love to this “fruit of the people” a couple years back in a b’earth day post. and even though its season well on its way out, persimmons get a big up for feb 2008 in honor of black history month, the persistence of black love, and just straight up healthy living. overshadowed by the more commercialized cousins of the fruit group, persimmons have grown to have a special place in both the historical & culinary lore of black folks. during the time of chattel slavery in the u.s., marriage for love between african descendants was not only counter to the “breeding” objectives plantation owners, but it was also illegal. african folks developed creative ways to ritualize their love – like ‘jumping the broom’. however, lesser known is the saying in the above epigraph shared between two lovers back in the day. “the persimmon with its [sweetness] was symbolic of how a lover felt about the other”. persimmons found their way into american texts from tales of breer rabbit -the seminal trickster to richard wright- one of america’s most prolific writers. in black boy, richard wright remarked Continue Reading food of the month: persimmons…
Tags: calisthentics, health, pull ups
g.i.a.n.t. thinking is healthy thinking and healthy thinking is balanced thinking, so how you thinking. where’s your knowledge and where’s your wisdom… bartendaz mantra
ok, so the bar has officially been raised–pun intended. the bartendaz go hard on the workouts, seriously. when they are not in the park doing calisthenic “gymnasty” gymnastics, they’re visiting public schools near you. in addition to inspiring a folks to get off the couch and empowering youth through the joys of physical fitness, they are also committed to building community and are in the process of starting a new york charter school. well, april 1st brings in a new multi-sport season, which leaves a little over a month to get it in. lastly, i once saw a clip of a fitness beast on video entitled “if batman were real he’d train like this“ which for the most part is quite impressive for strength, overall body mechanics and control; but, i think wolverine would do it like this: Continue Reading get your weight up, batman!…
the highlight of my all too short trip to acapulco began to take shape in a conversation with a waitress. of course i was attracted to acapulco’s weather, bountiful (and peculiar) flora and of course! i had to see and swim with a few sea turtles. but my first initiative to connect with people and learn/share culture. this trip was no different especially since this mexico trip was a stop in the african diaspora. “es ustedes antropologicos?”, the waitress asks as i finished my tofu taco from 100% natural. with such a beautiful smile draping off of high cheek bones…and a honey brown complexion i couldn’t help but think of my grandmother – a harlemite raised by her bahamian father during the late 30’s…could there be a connection? it appears that mi abuelita’s twin sis was curious as to why nite*vision and i were so interested in “black” mexican history, particularly since we did not “look” the part of academicians. it so happened that favy was born in “la chica costa” region of mexico and strongly identifies as afromestiza and was very proud to speak about the various sades of brown in her family and other cultural aesthetics – just as every afromestiza was when we spoke to them. both, mine and favy ‘s, inquiries (researcher and my grandma) were explored by the “african by legacy, mexican by birth” installation at the caribbean cultural center and later by the mexican fine arts musuem in chicago (one of the largest mexican diasporic centers outside of cali). the untold history of yanga, vera cruz and the overlooked descendants of african and indigenous warriors in Continue Reading tapping the ‘third root': mexico’s african history…
yup1 it’s been 41 days and i’m still missing it all…
it was a rare honor to play in brazil and i drew some fiery coals of inspiration from mestre valmir and his f.i.c.a.-bahia students which will stoke my angoliero fire for years to come. in general, being so close to the source of capoeira; witnessing the pride and seeing how vital this living warrior art STILL is to folks in bahia led me to a reappraisal of my training in the art. while capoiera in brazil can run the gamit from commercial tourist attractions to humble students and mestre committed to cultural preservation, i was most moved by the use of capoiera as a core part of the curriculum at a teacher/community directed independent school named escola aberta do calabar and at a quilombo to honor their ancestors who used the art for defense. the calabar school, the 2nd independent school in bahia, run exclusively by the teachers who live in the neighborhood. the community projects such as the independent school and other youth programs are components of the neighborhood’s legacy of self-determination; a community named for their nigerian ancestors -the calabari – who were displaced here during slavery and later making this place a quilombo. quilombo são francisco do paraguaçu is a haven plush with nature’s best deeply lain within bahia’s reconcavo region. the difficulty in reaching there is a characteristic that allowed the ancestors of the citizens here to be protected them from portugues oppressors. the citizens there today are the proud decendants of self-liberated enslaved africans and are trustees of the land who struggle to maintain their identity and rights to the land from a vicious media conglomerate and murderous farmers intent on taking this land. it was good to see and play outside of the u.s. playing capoeira is definitely a conversation and i enjoyed the dialogue with this angoleiro. as rusty as i am, i needed to say the “angoleiros prayer”. even though roquelua got me in this game, i put out a few tricks of my own…mad love meu primo – enjoy the clips!
today, may 19th, marks the 82nd birthday of el-hajj malik el-shabazz (formerly known as malcolm x). his message of self-determination is still alive and continues to resonate as an ideal. and while the popular representations of his life and example are of his eloquent delivery, rhetorical genius and “tell it like it is” stance, all of these, in my opinion, are the superficial layer of a core much more significant and fundamental to who he was. he was a “student of life” committed to discovering the truth for his spirit. for him personal development was the fuel of his life’s work and this personal development was inextricably linked to community development. how else could he have been as effective as an orator and convincing as a leader had he not transformed himself from the destructive vices of drugs, alcohol and hustling? this honest evolution continues to inspire oppressed and marginalized peoples of the world, particularly youth.
he was as unafraid of publicly “speaking truth to power” as he was dedicated to self improvement. with an inner compass set on growth, he was able to carefully trek a terrain of integrity, never getting lost in dogma. in death he is probably more loved and celebrated than many living leaders, partly because he recognized & accepted his citizenship to the human race without diluting his love of black folks. it was che who said: “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love”.
“don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. there was a time when you didn’t know what you know today”
he was a remarkable thinker, whose critical thinking was holistic, incessantly progressive and expanded outside the context of race and geography. furthermore, his ideas extended as far inwardly as they did outwardly. Continue Reading moving beyond the “x”: a legacy of transformation…
“throughout history, black people have used bicycles as a mode of transportation. today we must promote physical activity within the cultural context of african american history, including the struggle to freedom from slavery. the underground railroad bicycle route demonstrates how to use cultural tailoring designed to get people moving.” dr. stephen b. thomas, cmh director and professor of community health & social justice at the univ. of pittsburgh graduate school of public health.
once a clandestine path travelled under the cloak of nightfall and whose details were ingeniously encoded in song, can now be physically (re)traced and (re)appreciated in the context of fitness, historical reflection, and courage. the underground railroad bicycle route is a 2,058 mile historic trail stretching from mobile bay on the gulf of mexico to the great lakes in ontario with the mission to “promote lifelong health…to people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.” this landmark mapping project began over 3 years ago as a joint venture between the adventure cycling association and the university of pittsburg’s center for minority health of pennsylvania.
because of the trail’s length and plethera of historic sites (ft erie’s bertie hall, st. catherine’s museum), cyclists can choose short segments or tackle the entire trail. on april 14, the adventure cycling association sponsored 18 cyclists on a 50 mi a day, 48-day road trip ending in buffalo. but its not too late to be apart of this historic event. The final leg, a 7-day ride open to 80 riders, will start on july 30th and end on aug 3rd connecting buffalo to owen sound. the closing of this inaguaral 2100 mile trip will coincide with owen sound’s 145th emancipation festival. owen sound’s particular significance is that of a emotional site of relief and freedom, as for many passengers who journeyed the “rail” to escape america’s peculiar institution.
“the challenge to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities requires implementation of interventions that are scientifically sound and culturally appropriate,” dr. thomas
the owen sound site also is the gateway to north america’s rich african-canadian heritage – a “living” story spliced from the classroom and many discourses on the african diaspora. for more african canadian resources check out these site: historic black canadians,afrotoronto,book references,afua cooper,and a fellow wordpress blogger with interesting sources. Continue Reading underground railroad bike route…
reflecting on the life and legacy of mlk has left me to consider how deep do my beliefs (in anything) run. often referred to as a civil rights activist, the rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. was clearly more. a son, a father, husband, warrior…the list is endless. but what has struck me recently with chords of curiosity and introspection is one of the ways in which his family has chosen to carry on his work and message: the embrace of the vegan diet as a natural progression of peace and “non-violence”. both dr. mlk’s recently passed freedom fighter wife, coretta scott king and their sons, dexter and martin luther king iii, embraced the vegan diet. in an interview, dexter king stated:
“veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality, primary because the energy associated with eating has shifted to other areas…if you’re violent to yourself by putting [harmful] things into your body that violate its spirit, it will be difficult not to perpetuate that [violence] onto someone else.” click here for the rest.
my own path to the vegan diet was reached through a health conscious compass, but i can fully appreciate the meaning behind animals rights and how it can inform a decision to refrain from eating so called “meat”. the line of thinking that led martin luther king, jr.’s family to a vegan diet is commendable in my opinion – growing within and advancing the legacy by through fresh perspectives and self-analysis. in honor of king’s legacy, i can and will do more to grow and deepen empowering beliefs through staying open to new & diverse ideas, action, critical thought and self reflection. for more info on the life of the life-activist mlk check out the king center for social change‘s site. here is another site inspired by martin luther king’s message: vegan outreach
imani! spent the new year’s with good friends and family –playing scattergories, electronic catch phrase, half-watching the honeymooners marathon and sipping on a mix of organic sparkling apple cider + sorrel. slammin’!
speaking of sorrel, i made my special holiday fruit brew (i learned from my grandfather) for the worthy occassion of “ujamaa” a few days a go. in the spirit of cooperative economics, folks shared resources (thanks for the brown sugar, sala!) and shared some vegan soul-full food to compliment a youth-driven, casein-free kwanzaa celebration. let’s see the menu went something like this: potatoes au-gratin, macaroni & cheese, salad, “hmm-hmm” sweet potatoe pie w/ homemade crust, cranberry fudge brownies…sorry no pictures – it all went too fast. but trust me it all looked and tasted good.
the transition to ’07 is rolling with good news and inspiration: a friend just became married — i will (not wish or hope) you good love, continued growth and bonding with your partner — and a good friend just gave birth (at home) to a brand new baby - i will you limitless “kuumba”, ancestral wisdom, keen judgement, self-healing power, patience and joy in the rearing of this new life. ase!
much love to all the new and down-to-earth folks i’ve met on my infant life in the blogosphere: fruitarian one, pst. everyone who visit(s) and has not visited this site. you may never see this post (even if i take it down you know google keeps a record of it), much love to you and yours. i see this year as the abundance of buring passion, vision, inspiration, ancient wisdom, empowering relationships, insightfulness, informed works! get your share and make it work.