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As this Ramadan ends, I thought I would have a lot to say.  But maybe not as much as I first thought.

Fasting has an interesting effect on the body and the mind.  I can only truly speak for myself, but I know of what it does to me and others: violent mood swings, fatigue comes extremely quickly, your discipline and stamina are stretched to its limits.  And inevitably, the sun sets and you can replenish yourself, you spend time with loved ones.  Even with the Holy Month, this is a luxury that is sometimes taken for granted.

In particular, being born and raised in the richest country on the planet, in a middle class lifestyle on my worst days, I’ve never truly had to worry about food or shelter.  I’ve always had several options on the two most basic human needs.  In terms of community, and being a part of a group, in that regard too, I have never really known of a time where there wasn’t someone I could call ‘family’, whether that was by blood relation or friendship.  I certainly take pride in being the Dark Knight, and my big brother gene enjoys poking people with a stick from time to time just for fun, but anyone paying any kind of attention knows that I have a deep affection for the Jayhawks, and Kansas City, and black women and all things in between if at the same time my actions show you that I’m not really the man who’s interested in ‘carrying the flag’ and wearing the ‘number one fan’ cap (more often than not because I see others who WANT to carry that flag, and desire goes a long way in the roles we play in life).

In this month, we try to wipe our slates clean from the sins we’ve committed. If I have done wrong to you, or done wrong by you, I sincerely apologize.  As arrogant as I know I am, and as much of a perfectionist as I know I am, I recognize that I’ll never be perfect, and in some form or fashion, I will always be dependent on others.  That’s what makes me (and you) human.

Truth be told, I still have a lot on my mind. (smiling)  But whether it’s maturity, or peace of mind, or knowing I’m going to work out, and drink coffee, and eat lunch again tomorrow, for now I’m done talking and just want to ‘do’.

Free Palestine.

Detroit, give the people their water back.

Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters spread all over the globe.

All praise is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.



No introduction needed here other than, it’s the weekend.





Alright, enough downer stuff…

I have vivid memories of the college days, me and my homeboy in the booth on a Saturday night, getting hyped just off of U God’s verse alone:

Yo, super freak physique. like Raphael Saadiq
Baby love the ganja leaf, everday of the week
Super friends wake up, deluxe gourmet beats
The night is right, I might find me a suite
It’s a quarter full moon, now I ride with my swoon
Well groomed, dance hall packed, full room
Lady move, peep my glide, peep my zoom
Keep in stride, smoke the lah smoke the boom
Feel the fumes, consume toxic tunes
Hell bound, species forty ounce typhoon
The ultra-violet scream machine move your body touch
The totem pole wobble Ark builders God rush
Beams of light, stop ya breathin — it’s huntin season
Honey eye-ballin down for no reason
Grab her close, play post, wind and wax floors
Never mind the laws, cause tonight
[All] It’s Yourz




Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.




Alright, back in writing mode, so let’s burn off a few more heartbreak songs, shall we?

The Sinatra mythology says this one was recording after his marriage with Ava Gardner was really over.

Yep, sounds like it…




I’m not a man of regrets as most of you know, but I do wish I moved a little faster and had a film or a performance that was reviewed by Roger Ebert.  Along with Gene Siskel, he was America’s (hell, the world’s) film critic, and the new documentary Life Itself captures his personal and professional life tremendously well.

Chicago born and bred, the film uses Ebert’s autobiography as the backdrop of how this small town chubby kid from Southern Illinois became an American icon.  His perfect use of constructive criticism (which I certainly try to emulate) earned him generations of followers, both among the film geeks who would tune in weekly to his show, the studios who would come to have a mostly love (though it started as hate) relationship with him, and even a bond with many of the filmmakers who would become his peers (among them Martin Scorsese and Ava DuVernay, who both appear in this film). His most high profile relationship, with Gene Siskel, gets the appropriate coverage here (there was definitely some alpha dog fights between the two of them), along with the show they created that was Pardon the Interruption for movies wayyyyy before we had it for sports.

Life Itself also goes really in-depth to Ebert’s marriage to his wife Chaz.  How they met and how each’s family felt about interracial marriage; I’ll let you watch the doc itself to hear those stories.  A lot of the ‘present day’ scenes in the film are in the hospital, where we see what he (and she) dealt with on a daily basis when his body started to betray him.  I could do a whole separate post on marriages that work and what ‘for better or worse’ really means.  Those two clearly had it, and it’s really beautiful and inspiring and sad at times to see.

So as a film geek of course I’m absurdly biased on this one, but I think if you’re a Roger Ebert fan, you have to see this one.  In theatres now and streaming on iTunes and On Demand.



Still writing about heartbreak.  I always loved how he said this was his attempt at doing a ‘Ray Charles song.’  Not bad at all right?

Have a good weekend.




I’ve been writing ‘heartbreak’ this week so that’s the ‘theme’ for the moment.  That also means this one HAD to be on the playlist.

Enjoy (so to speak)…

Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by.
I say to myself, you’re such a lucky guy.
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true.
Out of all the fellas in the world, she belongs to me.

But it was just my ‘magination, running away with me.
It was just my ‘magination, running away with me.

(Soon) Soon we’ll be married and raise a family. (Oh, yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country with two children, maybe three.
I tell you, I can visualize it all. This couldn’t be a dream, for too real it all seems.

But it was just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.
Tell you it was just my ‘magination,
Running away with me.

[Paul:] Every night on my knees I pray.

Dear Lord, hear my plea.
Don’t ever let another take her love from me.
Or I will surely die. Hmm

(Her love is) heavenly.
When her arms enfold me.
I hear a tender rhapsody.
But in reality, she doesn’t even know me.

Just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.
Oh, tell you it was just my ‘magination,
Running away with me.

I never met her but I can’t forget her.
Just my ‘magination,
Ooo yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Running away with me.

Ooo, just my ‘magination running away with me.
She’s in my mind and hard to find.
Just my ‘magination…




Once upon a time, this cat and Ja Rule were giving us serious run as ‘the guy to replace 2Pac’.

Yeah, I know, I know…

But still, this song (his mainstream debut) gets me RIDICULOUSLY hyped up!


‘Get On Up’



I can’t really ‘spoil’ a movie about the life of James Brown, can I?

I’m in my ‘peak period’ of introspection as some of you know, so on the way home I was comparing filmmaking to life in general (just go with me for a minute).  When you have a good thing, don’t mess it up.  Know when to be patient and when to go for the kill.  Have fun.

So, when we talk about music biopics as a genre, I think at all costs you need the original music (so I’m already setting myself up for disappointment with 3000 as Jimi Hendrix); musician or not, it’s probably better for all parties if the subject is dead (even the best of us get uncomfortable seeing our flaws played out as ‘entertainment’ for the masses), and you know, it’s still a movie right? So be cinematic at points.

With that lead in, I think Get On Up is as well done as a studio genre pic can be in the current climate.

Chadwick Boseman (’42’) takes on another iconic brother from history in the Godfather of Soul.  AND HE NAILS IT!  The first scene most of the audience naturally laughed cause it did feel like a really good James Brown impression.  But as the film unfolds, it feels less like an over the top impression and more like James Brown.  That was the way he talked, that was the way he danced, and I don’t think any of us will deny that the man was larger in life in every way possible.  The second of the film’s many strong points was in showing (but not dwelling) on each part of the icon: the hair, the heavy gospel influence, the Flames.

I don’t think ‘America’ knows Chadwick by name (yet), so the next set of major props goes to how many ‘faces’, as actors in the film, we get.  Craig Robinson, Black Thought, Jill Scott (we all agree she is the sexiest ‘big girl’ of all time right?), Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer.  Not to mention the brother who stole his scenes as young Little Richard, and the quick nod to the Stones in the first act (I know Mick Jagger has his hand in this, but it’s not overplayed).

My only problem with the film to be honest is that it stuck so close to the genre sometimes.  James Brown (and his music) is so contagious and charismatic; obviously he’s human like the rest of us, but the few moments where the film went to drama felt either underdeveloped or like a studio note (i.e. ‘James Brown is/was one of the most beloved entertainers ever, make sure you throw some ‘jerk’ scenes in there, dammit!’)

That’s small potatoes though.  If you like James Brown or any of his songs (which is I’m guessing 98% of you), Get On Up is one you should see.


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