Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Judge Joe Brown & Judge Mathis....The Brown Bombers!

What About A Time Called Now!
Photo from Internet. Judge Joe Brown.
litigants? Skip and the president with a dip in his hips ...and Mr. Sgt. Crowley.

In my opinion, the popular opinion on the Skip Gates incident has been running in the wrong direction. In my mind, this thang needs a little real talk. Here's what I know. I know judge Brown and judge Mathis do not take prisoners. Judge Joe Brown has pimp slapped Coolio, Ike Turner and Rick James. Judge Mathis has no problem calling negros trifling jiggaboos and ignorant fools. So it's safe to say they will tell it like it is ......and will be fair in doing so. It would be a real stretch to call them racist.

Here's the deal. The debates have been raging over President Obama's "the policeman acted stupidly" statement. Some are saying he shouldn't have said it. Others are saying he had to say it. Then there's the issue of his offering an "olive branch". As I listened to all the debates, I've come to the conclusion that many are saying the same things but from different perspectives. It seems to be about paradigms and motives.

A friend of mine said it best:

"Speaking for myself: I was happy as all get out that the President spoke out so bluntly. I was doing high fives to my computer screen and air-triple bumping Obama. He clearly said what many folks--including me--thought and said aloud to significant others, on discussion boards, at the barber shop, etc. But even as I experienced a temporary rush, I also knew that as a sitting president the move would come back to bite him in the butt. Actually, he lasted longer than I laid odds on coming back with a semi-retraction. So there is a difference between -agreeing with what the president said and his right to hold that opinion and -feeling it was a stupid political move to have said it out loud, on camera, in those words."

I totally agreed with her. There's no doubt the remark sparked different reactions from different cultures. Unfortunately, those cultures can be divided along color lines. If we then add in the fact that most humans covet the comfort of blending into a popular opinion, it probably was a poor political move. As many debaters have pointed out, Mr Gates did not break any laws, so, we are back at the actions of the police officer. Consequently, we again find ourselves chasing the tail of racism, prejudice, ignorance and fear.

What I find the most interesting about this whole issue is how many blacks are reacting to Obama's "olive branch" (beer feast). I wonder if some are looking at it from a political standpoint or from a black pride point of view? We know there are some that say ....."come strong or don't come at all" ...."you gotta bring some ass to get some". Along those lines, I am sure others are saying the president let the policeman off to easy. Now, see, if he wasn't the president, him and ol'skip might invite Mr Crowley to a private back room for a man-to-man talk and then stole on his ass *lol*. That probably wouldn't be a good political move either. But I bet that would usher in a few booty bumps and high fives. I know Mr. Obama has to work on his jump shot and his dance steps but I wonder if he can throw a good right cross?

If I was a cartoonist I would draw a picture of little Skip Gates riding on the back of Sgt Crowley's, choking his neck while Obama slugged him with an uppercut. The caption would say, "Who's Stupid Now Motherf**ker?". Now I don't know what judge Brown and judge Mathis have been saying, but, well. In an adjacent picture we would see a stern looking Judge Joe Brown standing outside two large ornate doors with his arms folded in front of him. The caption would say ...Court In Session -- "The Peoples Court". Another picture would show Judge Mathis taking off his robe while standing beside Judge Brown . The caption ...."Do you think we wear these robes all the time?".

I don't know what the brown bombers are saying but I know they will keep it real. What do you think they would say if the litigants were in their court?!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun & The Ways Of White Folk's.

I hope I can do this right. It's my intentions to talk about Barn Theatre and Lorraines Hansberry's play - A Raisin In The Sun. But see, my prior post was titled "That Ain't Right". I started out with a little Michael Jackson and flowed into the meat of my post. Well, I thought I flowed, but I must have skipped around. In the comment section, one of my blogging friends **coughMissButterflycough** hit me with ...."What ain't right is how you start on one subject and get me all wrapped up into the post and then go left field"

I thought I was doing a whimsical steam of conscience thang, that's basically what I do. By opening with Michael Jackson, she must have thought I was going to post a video of me doing the moonwalk - in my underwear. Now don't get me wrong, my blogging friend and I are real cool and thus, I am going to try real hard to stay on line, just for her - gonna try.

Check this out. Last week I went to see a play. The play was Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun. Most People know about Ms. Hansberry's play and they miss her. But here's the deal. The play was at an old established barn theater. Yep, white folks. This playcrafters barn has been around for 81 years and they've never put on a production like this. Well, some previous plays were the Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie, See How They Run by Phillip King, and Papa's Angels by Collin Wilcox Paxton. You get the picture. I saw "Raisin" on two separate nights and I noticed a distinct difference between the crowds reactions.

In case someone doesn't know it, "A Raisin In The Sun" is a black play. Some may remember the role of Walter being played by Sydney Poitier. Others may remember Danny Glover playing the same part. There's another clown that thought he was doing the damn thang - but he wasn't, so I am not even going to mention his name.

While watching the play I glanced at the old white people. Their faces said it all, my suspicions were true. It quickly became apparent to me that many had never seen the play and didn't know anything about it. As I said, I went on two different nights. The first night was a benefit performance for Healing Waters Empowerment Project: Breaking The Cycle of Domestic Violence. The crowd was evenly mixed - whites and blacks. I accompanied a group of 50 upward bound students - mostly black. The last night was filled with season ticket holders - old white folk.

I am an arm chair critic that doesn't really enjoy amateur productions but these actors killed this play. I had seen the lead performer do her thang in a production of "Doubt". I knew she could act but she was riveting in the role of Momma. The characters, Walter and Momma have very dynamic scenes. Race matters are a big part of the play. Some of the lines hit white folks right in the gut.

In one scene Walter's sister is reminiscing about white people and says ..." that's how the cracker crumbles". You should have seen the looks on those white folks face. That line is followed by...."that's a joke". It may have been a joke but them white folks didn't think that mess was funny - not one bit. In another scene the family is talking about the fears of white people upon hearing that a black family may be moving into their neighborhood. One character said they were afraid of losing property value and another family member said, "no, dey afraid we might marry one of them". The black audience fell out laughing. The white audience looked as if they had just heard the O. J Simpson verdict.

I realized that most whites have not been around us in all our flavor. I got the feeling they thought every closed eye was sleep. They didn't like hearing lines that showed them in all their glory - not coming from the mouth of a black person - standing 10 feet away. They seemed surprised to hear that we sometimes "play them" when they are thinking they are "playing us". Walter has a scene in which he says he is going to act just the way they expect him to in order to get that money. Money they were going to give the family so they would not move into the neighborhood. Walter said he was going to do the best Uncle Tom they've ever seen. He said Nigger several times and did a great Chicken George.

Momma was the anchor of the play and always stood for right and moral decency. The crowd loved Momma - even the white folks. She was frequently heard saying how black folks should just be grateful and forget about money and moving to fast. She said her family has always been simple folks. But towards the end of the play, Momma showed them what black mothers are capable of doing if they're bruised. The white "welcoming committee" had sent a buy-out check to the family. Toward the end of the tense and dramatic scene, Walter turned down the money. Momma had put the decision in his hands. The pitchman for the committee made one last plea to Momma. Now, mind you, Momma has been running this family. Her daughter even labeled her a tyrant. But in this scene she turned her head away from that white man, as if he stunk and said, "you know I can't do nothing with those kids" . The man looked back at Walter who was now standing by his son. The son had a look of pride as Walter opened the door as if telling the man it's time for him to leave. Remember, many of the white people and black people, had never seen the play. Lawd have mercy, I looked at them white folks and you would have thought momma called him a nigger. Some of the blacks started clapping. I heard one woman say, "I know that's right".

After the play, the actors formed a greeting line. They hurried out a back door of the stage to meet the audience by the exits. Let me tell you, some of the white folks were really cool. They loved the play, many were crying. Yet others couldn't stare at the ceiling long enough as they tried to sneak by the actors. Maybe somebody should have told them who was coming to dinner and that it wasn't Sydney Poitier and Spencer Tracy.

It was a great night. I saw a great play and learned a little something about the ways of white folks. Langston Hughes wrote a book about that. Yep, The Ways of White Folks. It's a great read. The book is sitting on my shelf.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

B.E.T. Were You Taking Notes!?

Was the Michael Jackson memorial one of the best productions in a long long time?! I was watching it with my lady and saw her start to cry. I asked her if she was crying and she turned her head to wipe away her tears. I was glad she did because it gave me a chance to dab mine. I didn't want her to see me cry.

Just as Michael sang songs with conviction, so did the individuals that spoke at the event. They reached down and spoke from their hearts. I loved Dr. King's daughter's speech. I loved her brothers speech as well. I even stood up and applauded Al Sharpton. Brooke Shields gave us a glimpse of a man few really know. The black congress woman brought it home.

Did Usher sing that song or what?! All the music was just what the doctor ordered. If our new talent could sing a song like that, we'd all be the better.
Smokey Robinson had to give it up didn't he. Michael made Smokey's song his song. I missed parts of the first hour, I wonder if it could have made this experience any better? My heart goes out to his daughter. I couldn't hold back my tears after watching her speak.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Amazing ....Mr. Please Please Himself, James Brown and The Famous Flames! "Guest Blogger"

No... that's not James Brown. I think he's doing the big payback. I love hearing MC's introduce acts. The great ones know how to get the crowds jumpin'. Ray Charles had a good one. That guy spokek several languages with a distinct flaw. The guy that introduced James Brown was special. I remember seeing Ol'James fall to his knees while his boy ran over and threw a cape across his back. James would cast it away and break out in another song as Maceo and his band played along. The crowd, already standing, ran to the stage. Who doesn't remember the days of Michael Jordan and the Bulls ... "AND NOW - YOUR CHICAGO BULLS!"

Although I don't have a mic in my hand, I have the pleasure of introducing a friend of mine from Australia. I don't have a mic but she rocks the mic - she's a poet. No, she's a brilliant poet. Even if you're not too deep into poetry, I truly believe her poetry will touch your soul. I have to admit some poetry shoots over my head. I don't know if I am stupid or some poets are just deeper thinkers than me. Whatsoever dat der be, she has graciously allowed me to post her work. I've chosen a few of her poems. They speaks to motherhood, American Politics and one I know we all can relate to... Michael Jackson.

Without further ado: LADIES & GENTLEMEN... FROM THE LAND DOWN UNDER... A BEAUTIFUL CHOCOLATE THUNDER... Maxine Clarke ! Picture above.
hush (a poem)

mama / don’t go out to say
poems / without me tonight
he leaks at me / with those
drooping chocolate eyes / two
& half a years / is too little time
to have known the word
sacrifice / so i try hush
knowing hush won’t stop
the crying / little stricken chest
draws rasping breath at
hush / i will be back soon
we both know hush can’t read
the bedtime story /


won’t twirl that afrocurl
to sleep / or let him dip
licked peter rabbit spoon
deep down in the milo tin / hush
can’t snuggle warm in bed
& smell like me / still i say
hush / pretending maybe
that he will / but
every mother knows / when
her child’s heart is breaking
& i felt the weight of his / hanging
chubby off my ankle
okay / hush
hush / okay
okay / pumpkin
i will stay

two years & some
is too little time
to have known the word
sacrifice / so i try i’ll stay
& arms flung around my neck
he says / no silly
take me with you
on the stage

Photo (c) Michael Reynolds, 2008.
(c) Maxine Clarke

little michael (a poem)

dear michael / would you believe it
congress stood for you today
& not just the coloured section
the whole goddamn fucking chamber
you might have guessed by now
mike / that jesse jackson made them
bt i swear / for real / we heard
no whisper of objection
oh michael / wz the least we
all could do / sixty seconds
quiet / for lifetimes
of what we did to you / oh
little michael / who brought salvation
back / little michael
witnessing the streets / jehovah
come in a five inch afro
& size ten bell-bottom jeans

all shook our heads & stood
for you / little michael
silent / not knowing
wz the worst that we could do
cz all yr life folk stood around
& watched / here comes little michael
everybody shhh check out
what he can do

oh / michael / would you believe it
today congress stood for you
same old little michael / nobody
spoke / we found gabriel in
that voice of yours / & looked past
the empty eyes / childhood
locked up / behind a thug on
a tour bus / nobody spoke up
& little michael / a tired
twelve-year-old / sold
platinum / how ‘bout that
everybody wz sayin
little michael / y’know
small black boy with the
hair / cute smile / sings
that song / ABC & somethin
‘bout salvation

oh / little michael
congress stood for you today
& not just the coloured section
the whole goddamn fucking chamber

(c) Maxine Clarke


open letter to the president

mister president obama / oooooh
i like the way you shake your
round / black women stare at you
like they’d ditch their
southern fried jerk chicken
in a finger-licking flick

i wanna be the one who
tucks the president between
the sheets at night / i wanna
lead the leader of the free world
astray / mister obama
(no disrespect to your wife)
i dig the way your slip hips
sway / when you do that
live jive-walk across the stage
the way you flash that baaad
black smile at me across
the morning paper page
as if to say hey / it’s just you and me
in that voting booth on polling day
young lady / so let’s make a baby
cause i’ll show you where to hide
your weapon of mass destruction
if you’ll be the cure to my
electoral dysfunction

mister O
mister oh!
mister OH!

let me be secretary
to the state of your affairs
the homeland security blanket
that warms you everywhere

president obamai wanna rule the roost
where the man who rules the world
roosts when he’s not
ruling the world
i wanna jump up & down
on oprah winfrey’s couch
& scream that i’m obama's girl

mister O
mister oh!
mister OH!

i wanna suck your dream of hope
from those wide brown lips
let me be one nation
united invisible
under your rhythmic hips

president obama

i like the way you shake your
round / black women stare at you
like they’d ditch their
southern fried jerk chicken
in a finger-licking flick

(c) Maxine Clarke
photo (not included)© Michael Reynolds, 2008. Taken at Noise Bar, Brunswick, while performing Open Letter To the President for the first time.


Maxine Clarke ladies and gentleman. Lets give her an All American welcome and a hand of applause. These are just finger food - some of my favorites. The main course is at her site.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Samson & Delilah, Bill Clinton & Monica, Steve McNair & The Woman ...Love-Lust-Marriage-Consequences

I've heard it said that Samson was an individualistic rabble-rouser seeking to satisfy his appetites. Bill Clinton said he didn't have sex with that woman. Many are saying Steve McNair was a good football player and a good man. James Brown said it's a man's world. I am sure we've all heard the phrase, you reap what you sow.

The other day I was reading a journalistic commentary on the courts decision of the complaint brought before them by white firefighters. The journalist opened his essay in somewhat of an apologetic nature. It was almost as if he was asking forgiveness for telling the truth. Well, today I feel like that journalist because I have some things I want to say that many may not want to hear.

I am sure their are women of power that have been tempted by men and consequently, found themselves on the outside looking in. Off the top of my head I can't think of one. Steve McNair, a former NFL MVP and father of four was found dead laying next to the dead body of a woman. They were the victims of gunshot wounds. It's been reported they were in a relationship. Relationships come in various flavors. I have a relationship with my daughter and my sons. The relationship between my employers and I has at times caused me grief. I don't know the exact nature of the relationship between Steve McNair and the woman found with him but it appears their relationship cost him his life.

My significant other didn't show sorrow for him when she said, "that's what he gets for playing with a young girls heart". I wasn't so quick to pull that trigger. Maybe it's the man in me protecting the "rights" of another man but I asked her how do we know he was playing with her heart? I even got a little indignant and told her she knew nothing about his intentions, She said he was married with four children. I fell deeper into my protection of a man I didn't even know. I asked her if it's possible for a man to have a female friend and that friendship be of mutual consent, thus, getting what they both agreed on. Is it possible that not all relationships are of a usury nature? She admitted that was possible, yet in this case - not likely.

Days before the fatal incident, Steve McNair and his companion were stopped for a driving violation. They were riding in a car they co-owned. She was the driver and was given a DUI citation (driving under the influence) . Mr McNair was seen taking a taxi from the scene.

The more I carried the heavy flag of equal rights for all men and the protection of their world, the more I sunk into the quicksand of nonsense. I had no solid foundation in which to place my argument. If I desired to turn a blind eye to the seemingly obvious, I could remain in self imposed delusion.

In the world of addictions it's agreed by most professionals that the recovering substance abuser relapses into their old habit long before they take their drug of choice. It's a given their behaviors prior to that consumption will send them back down a road to their eventual death. Has Steve McNair always had a penchant for young girls. Sure, the woman was of legal age but will women under 20 be a fair match for a worldly men in his mid thirties?

In the movie The Color Purple, Mister told Celie's father that he gotta have somebody right now. Celie's father replied ..."I can't let you have Nettie, she too young but I can let you have Celie, she ain't fresh tho, she spoiled - twice.

Steve McNair has 4 children. Somewhere in my heart I didn't want to believe that Steve McNair needed something new - something fresh - something so young!

Again I heard the voice of my girlfriend turned new morning opponent. She said he has probably been doing "it" all his adult life. She even hit me with the old "where there's smoke there's fire".

She continued to pound me. She asked why McNair would be any different than Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlin, and the rest of the NBA penis slingers. I don't like losing debates but I was quickly losing ground. So I reached in my pocket and pulled out a low blow - I reached for the bible. I told her that Eve was the first to bite from the forbidden fruit. She was seduced by the serpent and then tempted Adam. Can I lay my argument on that foundation? Would it be the truth to say that Steve McNair is the victim? Or did the hunter get captured by the game?

The truth is there are now consequences and burdens laid upon the lap of Steve McNair's wife and children. The children are now faced with the task of going through life without a father and his wife is left with so many questions. Who's at fault and what's the truth? I am sure many have opinions.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Endowed By Their Creator

There are some blogs I read every morning. With my cup of coffee and breath left over from the night before, I sit down to gain a little wisdom and possibly enjoy a few laughs.

Once such blog is The blogs host is PPRscribes. She's an excellent writer with a great mind. I would suggest having her with your coffee.

Several of her posts have inspired mine. Today the beat goes on. This morning I stopped by and read something that I don't really think I've ever read. At least it didn't have the same impact as it did today.

The other day I asked 10 people if they knew what the 4th of July is all about. When it was all said and done, they all basically said the same thing, "nope, not really". There's usually one person in the crowd that will speak with the confidence of a brain surgeon and tell you that they know the answer. Well, one such person stood up and said, "who doesn't know what the 4th of July is about, it's the day the slaves were let free, that's why we always barbecue". Oh really?   I don't think so.

I have to admit that I didn't know all the ramifications behind Juneteenth and the 4th of July. And sue me. But if you like interesting, thought provoking pictures (great pictures) and a little cream in your coffee, stop by PPRsribe's site. I think your day will start on a good note. I know mine did!