Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 - Year in Review Pt. 1

“All your weight. It falls on me. It brings me down.” – Collective Soul “Heavy”

All I can say about 2009 is that it feels like a huge weight has been lifted now that it’s over. But like any good exercise, it’ll stay with you for a long time because it was just that heavy. And it nearly brought a lot of people down in the process.

It started with a glorious cold winter morning when Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th President. It ended with a informal house-warming party with good friends I spent more time with this year. In between here are my memories.

*Death defined this year. I said goodbye to my Uncle Levi Jackson (the rock of my family and a great male influence in my life). I said goodbye to a church deacon who lit up everyone around him (Jimmy Glover). Mr. Glover was one of my 3 church members I was close to who passed away and hit me hard.

*On the flip side of death, there was rebirth. My cousin Corey was released from prison – a credit to the 3 strikes rule being reviewed – and he’s a fine man with renewed faith and perspective. Several friends gave birth to beautiful girls so it’s the great cycle of life.

*More magazines shut down or went digital (Blender/Complex/URB) but VIBE is coming back after going down earlier. We said goodbye to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Denver Post. Those left were dramatically slimmer thanks to a financial diet. (GQ/Rolling Stone). Print media will enter its last decade.

*I didn’t make it to many concerts this year. I stayed on the local scene for the most part, peeping shows featuring the homie Destruct. But I did finally go back to the San Diego Street Scene for the 1st time in 3 years. And boy did I get a show (Public Enemy, Blue Scholars, Busta Rhymes and Silversun Pickups – although I regret missing MIA and the Dead Weather).

*My boss left the paper finally and I was confronted with realizing that my time there might be growing short. Hopefully these developments I’m working on with take hold in the coming weeks and I’ll have a better handle on my next move
- That said, I had great highlights this year that I’ll detail in Part 2

*Sports this year was filled with redemption (Kobe and the Lakers/Yankees), fallen stars (Tiger Woods/USC), insanity (Usain Bolt lowering his world records) and some great moments. Shucks Alex Rodriguez had all of that combined with his steroid admission, shocking postseason play, and World Series ring.

*Year One of the Obama administration brought a Nobel Peace Prize, a greater focus on Afghanistan, a chopped and screwed health care bill that’s drastically different than what he planned. But overall, it was a good start for a year that I expected to do more to correct Bush’s failures than progress. More must be done in 2010 I believe. “A Little Less Conversation, A little more action, please” © Elvis Presley

*Beer Summit? The ultimate sign that Obama maybe overstepped his role despite a fine teaching moment of talking about racial issues instead of just yelling our disagreements. Like Colin Powell said, he can’t do it all and just needs to pick his battles better.

*Ah yes, the rise of Glenn Beck and the Tea Parties and people who want to take our country back. Back to what? When Black people didn’t lead, but followed with their heads bowed? When loading up guns and going on hunting parties were done before debate. Not in my country.
- Beck accused Obama of being racist. Yeah, I’ll be watching his venom in 2010.

*Just like newspapers did, national companies started to expand their influence with local “bureaus”. NBC has websites devoted to local coverage and Huffington Post/ESPN created more localized coverage to major cities
- This is an underrated trend that will not only expand a brand, but pose the biggest threat to traditional local media. It’s just good business – fills a void or enhances the local flair of a city

*Message to the birthers movement. “Let it go dog, it’s over” © Eminem – It’s been over two years and still you think you’re smarter than people who thoroughly vetted Obama.

*We said goodbye to way too many people that we grew up with it. I can’t believe Michael Jackson and Brittany Murphy are gone. I can’t believe Steve McNair launched the decade with that Super Bowl final drive and ended it dead with a mistress. A career hero of mine, Walter Cronkite, signed off for the last time. Too many to list but I’ll try in Part II. Just crazy.

*Learning about faith. We said goodbye to Inglewood and hello to Redondo Beach – but not before being homeless for two months and staying in a hotel. It was a lesson in patience and trust and I couldn’t be happier to be in our new house.

Part 2 comes right behind this - my annual lists of best songs/albums/stories/etc. No matter what happened to us this year, we survived and we are stronger. Cheers to blessings in 2010 and let's just make it better.

- Virgo Kent

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