Friday, June 28, 2013

Don't Let the Distractions Fool You (Paula Deen, Rachel Jeantel and the Voting Rights Act)

If there's anything I gained from seeing all the news this week, it's a reminder that we're surrounded by a lot of distractions and not enough direction to focus on what matters.

Case in point, Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court Tuesday. Section 4 says that certain jurisdictions in nine states have to get federal approval on changing voting conditions suggested in Section 5.

So in other words, the Court decided 5-4 that now all states have the right to change up their voting practices without asking for federal approval because we've made so much progress since 1965 and those provisions are irrelevant, according to Chief Justice John Roberts.

That was the words of Chief Justice John Roberts. As shortsighted as that was, it was nice compared to Justice Clarence Thomas saying he would've eliminated Section 5 as well.

But the dominant conversation isn't about the impact of this or how states are already trying to take advantage. No, we're talking about Paula Deen's racist words and Rachel Jeantel's appearance on the witness stand in the Trayvon Martin case.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Goodbye, World on Wheels: An L.A. Treasure

If you grew up in Los Angeles during the 80's and 90's, World on Wheels was a place to be. Growing up in Mid-City, I attended birthdays there as well as several church outings. Even though there was a worry about a gang presence in the area, somehow the place felt cool where you could just enjoy yourself.

After this weekend, World on Wheels will be no more. Another Los Angeles memory of my childhood gone as time has passed it by and revenue was harder to come by.

I've realized that growing up means saying goodbye to things and people. Skating is a lost art these days and yes, World on Wheels' days were numbered but it's still sad to see something you grew up with become a memory. It's one of the last remaining indoor skating rinks in the city and for 32 years, it made its mark here.

W.O.W. became famous in the 80's because KDAY would host hip-hop concerts there, including NWA and LL Cool J. For me, it was just a great place to go skating. It was where I learned to get comfortable with it like my peers would with roller blades and for a brief part of my life, it was a great place to be.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Out and About: Mission Viejo Arts Alive Festival

Last month, I attended the Mission Viejo Arts Alive Festival since my girlfriend was assisting there for a class project. Besides seeing great chalk work and hearing some dope music from the 1960's, I also got interviewed by Mission Viejo TV for their trivia game. It's a small appearance but trust that I represented my knowledge well.

Also here's some of the artwork that was on display.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Podcast: Ice Cube's Death Certificate

Forgot to share this last week but I finally had the chance to join Single Simulcast's podcast to discuss one of our favorite albums. Ice Cube's classic 2nd album, Death Certificate.

Back in 2010, I made an argument why Death Certificate is the greatest solo album to come out of the West Coast. Three years later, I had more ammo on my side as I realized the musical and political impact that album had. It created a sound the West Coast hadn't really dug deep into before by sampling funk records and having more bass than most artists had before. Dr. Dre turned it up another notch with G-Funk.

So enjoy a listen with me, Larry Lank Lank and Single Simulcast's host Rashanii. It's over 2 hours long but it's one of the best things I've done. It's also a tribute to an incredible album that probably can't be made on a record label today but has influenced MC's over the years such as Nas, Killer Mike and Kendrick Lamar.