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kiss

I had some thoughts about starting this week talking about ‘This Week’s Atrocity’.  But…

We’re about to head into July.  I think it’s time to clock the outrage, and focus on November.

So let’s get into some music to start the week.

Always loved the simplicity of this video.  Pretty girl, Wendy(?) on guitar, shirtless lead vocals.

BAM.

Enjoy!

 

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beatles

The weekend is upon us.  Most of us need it a little more after this week…

I see this has been made an ‘official’ video, and I always that the animation here is fairly clever.  Easy choice.

Have a good one gang.

 

 

michael-b-jordan-1

And you know I yelled when I saw the Ali tribute shot…

 

 

Photo of Sammy Davis Jr.

Today’s video is one of my theme songs, performed by one of the show biz greats.

I’ve auditioned to play Sammy once; it’s still a dream part for me.  May realistically be a little too far removed at the moment for what Paramount is setting up, but you never know…

Enjoy!

 

 

Beyonce-JAY-Z

Well, this is a nice way to get back into the music.

Art, ladies and gentlemen…

 

 

faith

My Ramadan goal this year wasn’t as dramatic as the past few.  I didn’t focus hard on improving my Arabic; I didn’t donate all my excess material stuff to Goodwill.

I came into the holy month in awe that I’ve been able to live my life without destroying ‘my life.’  I’ve also been aware, for quite awhile, that there’s still a lot of middle ground between the ‘highlight reel’ (social media), and my private relationships with family and close friends.  One of the many things I’ve admired about Kaepernick is he recognized quickly that while people mostly respect ‘quiet and serious’, if you allow the vacuum between your words and your deeds grow too large, you risk your message getting flipped into something completely different (looking at you, league I don’t plan to give any more of my money too for the time being).

I wish I had a better term than this, but I adopted a ‘Plus One’ attitude the past few weeks.  Without being phony about it, I made myself more accessible to my neighbors, I hung out with my co workers a little more off the clock, things like that.  There’s really no grand scheme here beyond being more consciously proactive that the person I want the world to see my as is in line with how I treat everyone around me.  Changing the world is cool, changing the world around me feels right, right now.

I appreciate the calls and texts from everyone who didn’t ‘see’ me the past month.  I’m looking forward to what comes next.

Onward.

 

shaykh

The official answer to it all is, ‘It is the will of Allah.’

If I go before I resurface next month, Surah 2, verse 286 should be on the front of the program: ‘Allah imposes not on any soul a duty beyond its scope.’

When my mind is quiet though, (which is often now), I feel incredibly fortunate.

At least once a day as of late, I’ve felt overwhelmed with gratitude.

A lifetime (really two lifetimes at this point) worth of experiences that let my family and my people live vicariously through things I could do and places I could go has turned on me; now I have feelings of guilt that I’ve come out of the other end, and somehow, for all the honest mistakes and reckless things I’ve done, I avoided the backbreaking choice that would have put me into a hole I couldn’t climb out of.

This will sound absurd to some, but I don’t know sometimes how I’ve avoided doing anything to turn my bloodline permanently against me.

This will sound absurd to some, but I don’t know how I avoided being reckless to the point of turning my Muslim people against me forever.

The people who don’t represent the same thing I represent but who respect what I’m about; I am embarrassed on a daily basis by how flush I am in genuine relationships.  I continue to do better, but I’ve also come to accept it’s just impossible for me to spend time with everyone I’m cool with.

Leading into this Ramadan, I’ve also accepted that if the law of averages hasn’t derailed me yet, I don’t intend to ruin my own plans.

The peak version of ‘Malik Aziz’ is somewhere in the spectrum between post Mecca Malcolm (part of the world Ummah but sensitive to the concerns of the community I was born into) and Denzel (no desire to be ‘a minister’, but I can use my life and my art and my reputation as the best possible selling point of the type of person my community is capable of creating).

24/7/365 now I hold myself to that standard.  There’s not a lot more to be gained by wondering why life seemed to wait for me to catch up to what I’m trying to achieve.  It’s just time to go for it.

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

 

 

livingcolour

One more song…

This is darkly comic now, but in my deep dive of Malcolm’s life there was a 48 hour period last week where I was listening to the full audio of ‘Message to the Grassroots’, and ‘the Ballot or the Bullet’, then Kanye went public calling a slavery a choice and I swear…

Sunday I’ll go into detail about where my head is at before the social media fast.

Have a good weekend.

 

 

Sam-Cooke-ls_3166067k

Liquid lunches and reading and getting up a little bit earlier…almost that time.

I’ve already heard this ‘sign’ from three different places this morning.  Good time for it to be the Song of the Day.

Enjoy.

 

 

dear-white-people-season-2

I don’t think Justin Simien will take any offense to me saying each incarnation of ‘Dear White People’ has been an improvement on the one before it.

The latest season (or volume as it were) builds on Season 1’s re-introduction of the characters and settings of Winchester University, and creatively expands on them in so many ways, the few highlights I’m about to list below only scratch the surface…

  • If you feel the need to play the comparison game, I guess ‘Atlanta’ would be the other choice, but the number of strong individual episodes in this season is absurdly high.  The ‘mushrooms’ episode.  The ‘abortion’ episode.  My actor’s bias has strong feelings for episode 8, which is essentially a one act play for the characters of Sam and Gabe; the amount of personal and political material in that half hour alone is obscene.
  • But my favorite episode of this bunch is the ‘Joelle’ episode.  The character is obviously a fan favorite, and the realization/breakdown of ‘the hotep’ was too hilarious and painfully accurate.
  • A ton of good cameos I won’t completely ruin, but I have to say seeing Lena Waithe and Tessa Thompson play against ‘what I was expecting’ was fantastic.  For the USC crowd my old classmate Daheli got more screen time this season as the Iyanla Vanzant doppleganger and she makes the most of it.

So yes, all the applause.  Carve out 10 more half hours of your time for this.

Streaming on Netflix.