Would You Elect Archie Bunker for President?

Archie Trump

In the 1970s long before reality television held viewers by its voyeuristic stronghold, sitcoms were the fare that taught important lessons.  At a time of cultural upheaval for racial, sexual, and gender equality, the world’s most bigoted man was a fictional character.  Archie Bunker, the blue collar big-mouth, complete with cigar and slur was often found in his iconic easy chair jamming his foot down his throat with fear-based rounds about blacks, Jews, gays, women, and Hispanics. No one was safe.

Bunker was bolstered by his saintly albeit dimwitted wife Edith who saw beyond his offensive, crusty exterior enough to love him unconditionally.  Even as her husband often told her to “stifle” Edith oftentimes edified her husband and TV audiences with her worldly wisdom and unconditional compassion that neutralized the caustic dynamic in the house.  When Edith Bunker died in the spinoff, the Anti-hero was left without his anesthetizing counterpart.

Since then, there has been a reckless updraft of familial sap in television sitcoms that had us aching for the realness found at 704 Houser Street. ABCs TGIF night tried, but it was already too late. When the camera focused on Mr.  and Mrs. Joe Everyday, America became addicted to itseslf.  Real-life drama porn was born.

Now, in the 21st Century, we find ourselves fascinated by families that are representative of the sitcoms we once loved. The hyper-procreative, conservative Christian Duggars replaced the bubbly, Catholic Lubbok family in Just the Ten of Us; the Kardashians and their classless, “new money” attitudes have replaced the Beverly Hillbillies.  The world’s most bigoted man is no longer a fictional character. He is running for  buying public office.

Duggar 10 of us

Top: The Duggars Bottom: Just the 10 of us

Would you elect Archie Bunker for President?

Donald Trump is the cranked up, pimped out version of Archie bunker, spewing hate and inspiring others to do the same. His thin skinned demeanor, stemming from a  Richie Richesque life in his father’s shadow has been a catalyst for his fear based thought processes and his megalomania.  He even has insane disciples that carry out his bidding.  Trump has replaced Archie’s chair with a leather seat at the head of the boardroom that brings with it all of the chaos and danger that an enclosed mind can produce. 

Where is Edith?

Melania Trump, when will you be our Edith?  When will you stand up for womankind and talk your husband off the ledge? When will you inform him that you, in fact, are an immigrant and that his views on immigration are abhorrent at best? When are you going to stand for the rights of the working class that has now become the condensed 98% of the American Population with trailblazing initiatives that rival the fortitude of Michele Obama? Have you forgotten your roots, or has standing in the soles of your Manolo Blahniks erased your memory like they did Carrie Bradshaw?

Wise up Sister.

If you’re planning on being the First Lady, you better plan on being a voice for those your husband despises. You better get ready to take one on the chin from the other countries that despise our duplicitous diplomacy. You must transform yourself into the matriarch of this country and console your hungry children. Tell us “It’s not our fault for the way our country is being run, it’s just that Donnie has a real problem with sharing.  You Americans have a lot of corporate aunties and uncles that can’t stop being so hungry. Donald needs you to be a tool.” I mean, even though we all see through The Great Trump Media Parade’s façade, we still will want and need to hear it from you.

My fellow Human Beings, please listen to reason! The race for presidency is not a reality TV program. It is not a game. It will affect your life. It is happening to you. Your future and the well-being of future generations will depend on the candidate we elect. Donald Trump is a misogynist, racist billionaire who does not care about you. He does not believe in fiscal solvency, he believes in tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%.

When you say “I like him because he speaks his mind!” Not only do you sound like an uninformed voter at best, you epitomize the lack of intelligence he is counting on that will excuse the fact that he is buying loyalty and paying for the most important seat in the country. If you think Trump would make a great candidate you are committing an act of violence against yourself, this country, and the rest of us indentured servants and slaves who continue to build this nation. If you continue to support Trump you seal the fate and ring the death knell for brown skin be it Hispanic, Native American, African American, or Indian American.

Let us not forget, my fellow Humans that the screen we see is no longer far from us but embedded into our cultural DNA and our psyche. All the information we ingest plays out in the world we live in. When William Shakespeare penned the famous quote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” he was speaking metaphorically.  All those black people you see dying at the hands of “lawmen” are not extras in a movie, they are our neighbors. Those Trans people are not Shakespearean actors of old, they are our brave mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They don’t need your bullshit jokes; they need you to see them from the inside out, not the outside inward.

We continue to perpetuate the problems of our world when we expect them to be solved after twenty-two minuets of entertainment and canned laughter.

REmember Reality Bites?

Lelaina: I just don’t understand why things just can’t go back to normal at the end of the half hour like on the Brady Bunch or something.

Troy Dyer: Well, ’cause Mr. Brady died of AIDS. Things don’t turn out like that.

How do we get out of this Labyrinth of artificial intelligence? How do we restore ourselves, our individualistic ideals, and secure the future of this fame-dependent nation?

Dare to be different. Boldly go. Pack your integrity.

Our intelligence becomes artificial the moment we invite our screens to do the thinking for us. We defer to the media to purchase our decisions, and to desensitize our hearts to violence. We can no longer kill our way to fame. The moment we replace compassion with cynicism through ego-driven pseudo-wit intended to cast a façade of intelligence, we have become the machine.  Do not be so quick to give over the humanity that shapes our shared heritage.

 

 

The Eyes of Langston Hughes See the Current Black Struggle

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He was the god of the Harlem Renaissance;  a man of the beleaguered black experience who brought its struggles to the world’s attention through visceral prose.

Langston Hughes is arguably the most prolific black poet of all time.  His words, forty-eight years after his death, still eerily resonate with the African-American experience of the twenty-first century.  Does that mean that there has been no progress for peace or that Langston himself was more than a poet, but a prophet of our disenfranchised culture?

The poems I am about to share with you are from Hughes’s compilation of poems called “The Panther and the Lash: Poems of Our Times.” It is important for every human being to recognize that the black experience is every culture’s experience.  While the black experience has now been diluted with the milk of political correctness, there are still innocent blacks dying at the hands of police, being brutally murdered in their sacred sanctuaries, and being told “All lives matter, so what’s the big deal?”

Answering the question

Langston replies to this inane question in his poem Freedom:

Freedom will not come

Today this year

Nor ever

Through compromise and fear

 

I have as much right

As the other fellow has

To stand

On my own two feet

And own the land.

 

I tire so of hearing people say

Let things take their course

Tomorrow is another day.

I do not need my freedom when I am dead

I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread

 

Freedom

Is a strong seed

Planted

In a great need.

I live here, too.

I want freedom

Just as you.

 

“Just as you” may seem like a very difficult idea to  confederate flag wavers and the complacent that do not understand how important it is to care about the well-being of everyone in our society. Here is a powerful teaching moment to exercise empathy for those of you who still struggle with connecting to the black experience:

Langston Hughes commentated on the deaths of young black men in the hands of police then and now:

Death In Yorkville – James Powell (summer, 1964)

 How many bullets does it take

To kill a fifteen-year-old kid?

How many bullets does it take

to kill me?

 

How many centuries does it take

To bind my mind-chain my feet-

Rope my neck-lynch me-

Unfree?

 

From the slave chain to the lynch rope

To the bullets of Yorkville,

Jamestown, 1619 to 1963:

Emancipation Centennial-

100 years NOT free

 

Civil War Centennial: 1965

How many Centenials does it take

To kill me,

Still alive?

 

When the long hot summers come

Death ain’t

No jive

 

While this work  references the Harlem riots when Lt. Thomas Gilligan  fatally killed a fifteen year old boy, this poem eerily foreshadows the deaths of 70 African-Americans in police custody from 1999-2014.  As the death toll continues to rise, this is my call to Langston:

Langston, Langston

It’s worse than before!

No one says nigger or negro anymore

(To our faces, no that would be too bold)

But the line between is thicker than before

And

We still die in the street

At the hands

Of the Law

 

There is nothing more frightening

To a bigot with a padlocked mind

Than an

Educated

Liberated

Consciously aware

Black man

Black woman

With nappy hair

Connected to the idea that all is fair

In a world

That continues to struggle and despair

In an

Antiquated system

In desperate need

For repair.

And Langston says:

Color:

 Wear it

Like a banner

For the proud-

Not like a shroud.

Wear it

Like a song

Soaring high-

Not moan or cry.

But how can we not cry? How can we sit idly by and allow genocide?

Impasse:

I could tell you,

If wanted to,

What makes me

What I am.

But I don’t

Really want to-

And you don’t

Give a damn.

On a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, four little girls were killed in a hate bombing in their sanctuary.   In the summer of 2015, six women and three men met their death by a mass hate shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.  Senseless hatred over the beauty of brown skin has not come to an end.

Birmingham Sunday – Sept. 15, 1963

 Four little girls

Who went to Sunday School that day

And never came back home at all

But left instead

Their blood upon the wall

With spattered flesh

And bloodied Sunday dresses

Torn to shreds by dynamite

That China made aeons ago

Did not know

That what china made

Before China was ever Red at all

Would redden with their blood

This Birmingham-on-Sunday Wall.

 

Four tiny girls,

Who left their blood upon that wall,

In little graves today await

The dynamite that might ignite

The fuse of centuries of Dragon Kings

Whose tomorrow sings a hymn

The missionaries never taught Chinese

In Christian Sunday School

To implement the Golden Rule

 

Four little girls

Might be awakened someday soon

By songs upon the breeze

As yet unfelt among magnolia trees.

 

Every woman is one of those four girls.  I am one of those four little girls that still has a shred of quixotic hope that we can all live together in harmony and celebrate the beauty of diversity. But the stories still must be told, the harsh lessons passed down, the noble act of forgiveness a daily practice.  We must never forget.

Perhaps that is what is so scary to Racist America.  Racist America are  you afraid that we African-Americans will act as insanely as you? Do you think we will get into our pick up trucks with black power flags perched on the truck bed like you do with your confederate flags? Do you think we will begin rounding up young white women to rape, young white men with great promise to burn alive after we piss on them? Do you think we will hang your fathers?  Burn crosses on your lawn? Is that why you keep us so busy working two jobs to keep food on our table?

Do you think this level of hatred is what we African-Americans are capable of?

As I think of the grief of black history and the current struggles we face, I call to my ancestral spirit guide, Langston Hughes. I look to his wisdom in his written and unwritten words.  I am not filled with despair but a fiery hope.  The same firey hope that bore the hymns of the toiling fields. This is a hope that burns a light for all lives lost, and fuels a dream to see the world unified in all of its fragile glory.

Dream Dust:

 Gather out of star-dust

Earth-dust

Cloud-dust

And splinters of hail,

One handful of dream-dust

Not for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Tips to Empower the Artistic Process (VIDEO)

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There is nothing quite like the artistic process.

For many artists, having the vulnerability and courage for artistic expression can be a very difficult journey. Some artists believe that the more difficult journey the better the art.  Personally, I thrive on joy and discovery which is the cornerstone of my artistic process. While there are a lot of painful aspects of life that art can teach others about, I would rather keep my sanity. I am sure you would too — the benefit of self-acceptance and sharing  your inner world is a rewarding journey in itself.

I developed a four-step process to navigating the artistic process without losing your mind. Nothing in life that carries great worth is easy; the artistic process is still challenging. Embark on the adventure!

Pulsar Publishing offers the Social Content Pro Pack for Brand Illumination

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The Social Content Pro Pack Cuts Through the Noise and illuminates your brand.

How do we do that? We take the heart of your brand identity and write powerful, moving content that is meant to inspire your readers.  In the Social Content Pro Pack we offer the following:

CONTENT WRITING: 

We will generate three articles per week that reflect the power behind your brand. Blogs will focus on the following topics:

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  • Sales focused calls to action to drive commerce (for product companies)

Each blog will be between 285-300 words

SOCIAL PLATFORM STREAMLINE: 

The existing content you have on various social media venues will be curated and distributed through a scheduler to maximize brand exposure.  The following actions will be taken:

  • Set up a free scheduler account (if you don’t already have one)
  • Populate scheduler with photo, video, and blog content
  • Distribute and syndicate content on the Pulsar Network of 30,000+ Unique readers

FREEBIES: 

  • Promotional Video:

Pulsar will produce a promotional video for distribution. The promotional video will offer a behind the scenes look at your brand, and an intimate look at the creative process.

*If you do not live in the Knoxville area, we will curate clips to develop a promotional video for you!

  • Business Review Article:

A business review between 285-300 words will be drafted for Pulsar Publishing’s Blog. The review will include promotional information consistent to your brand identity.

*Each Freebie will be syndicated on the Pulsar Network (30,000+ followers) and never expire.

Total Cost: $350

Don’t want to pay all at once? Request an installment plan.

appropriation

Appropriate This: Hip-Hop Streets of 1960s Watts

The construction of the Watts ghetto in Los Angeles was a slow burning pogrom that spiraled from structural and cultural violence.

At the height of civil rights movement, Watts became a red lined community for all people of color.  Like the currently unrested Palestine, Watts was a cataclysm of intricate frontlines.  Most of the young men of Watts were ex-convicts with no future prospects, living side by side by established people of color, abandoned by the federal government’s development of low income housing projects that socio-economically stigmatized the region.

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This infrastructure was the blueprint for structural violence the beleaguered area of Los Angeles faces to this day.  At the height of African-American empowerment, Watts became a hotbed of violence and torrid artistic expression.  The predominately white police force was as an occupying military, although any kind of drug, alcohol and prostitute was easily accessible at the wholesale cost of human lives surviving with what little dignity was left within their tattered lives.

When I think of black oppression, something I am quite familiar with, I think of the African-American spirituals sung by toiling slaves.  At the height of slavery, there was a graceful movement that cultivated a culture of peace and sovereignty.    Those that now lie in unmarked, forgotten graves have created a culture of peace.

Exactly fifty years after the upheaval of watts, I am bewildered by the commercialism found in current hip-hop culture with its roots deeply grooved in the heart of Los Angeles, breaking through the concrete with as much unruliness as natural hair on a hot summer day.  The message has been watered down by the mainstream media who sold off blackcents, cornrows, and gold chains for the masses to hang themselves with. Ironically those masses are white suburban males whose parents say “Oh he is just going through a phase.”

Watts Prophets

Watts Prophets

While the Watts riots were revolutionary, the revolt destroyed what little the people had; citizens were left with nothing more than anger and ruins. Yes, Watts was a third world country on American soil, yet it was ignored.  We American’s find it hard to believe that third world standards of living are taking place on our own soil; Johann Galtung stated in his piece Cultural Violence  “The culture preaches, teaches, admonishes, eggs on, and dulls us into seeing exploitation and/or repression as normal and natural, or into not seeing them at all.”

In the midst of tumult, the emergence of rap and hip-hop culture came by way of ghetto shamans known as the Watts Prophets. Their work established a culture of peace and a new form of expression for the oppressed.   Amde Hamilton, Richard Dedeaux, and Otis O’Solomon’s edgy, profane spoken word carried healing power with subtly sexy driving drum beats. I remember being incensed on the dance floor of Freedom Repertory Theatre as I danced to Beautiful Black Girl.  It was my initiation into black womanhood (although I identify as racially universal I am delving into the many facets of such universality). But would I have understood the importance of such initiation had I not been oppressed, only four months earlier after being thrown in the back of a cop car in Pennsauken NJ for being a young woman of color?  Has such a thing happened to Iggy Azaelea or Katie Perry? Hairstyle, twerking, and Ebonics make the black woman not.  Would Kylie Jenner survive on the streets of Watts? Would any of the aforementioned starlets?

Would I?

Situatedness (Installation Art)

Our perception of reality is like a fingerprint. It is uniquely centered around our point of view, religion, and cultural history. The influence of these elements, coupled with seminal experiences in our life shape what is called situatedness: how you experience the world from your field of vision.

This installation art that I created speaks to my situatedness and the experiences that I carry with me. This particular work is inspired by Palestinian installation artist Mona Hatoum.