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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.

 

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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.

 

 

kendrick-fyf-black-and-white

First, a serious editor’s note…

I did a quick scan to try to find an accurate date, it looks like 2013 was the last time a ‘Song of the Day’ was either from or had the hook sung by ‘you know who.’  So if the time has come for the Pied Piper of R&B to be held accountable, you already know where I stand.

Now on to more fun feelings.

How about a song from the Pulitzer winner?  That still kills me…

Enjoy!

 

 

thanos

Just through a coincidence, I watched ‘the Dark Knight’ last night.  Bias aside, still my favorite ‘film featuring characters who started in comic books.’

But ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ might be the best ‘comic book movie’ ever.

A few non spoiling thoughts…

  1. I was rolling over in my head the last time I sat in a theatre that was stunned into silence when the credits rolled.  COMPLETELY different genre obviously, but it was ’12 Years a Slave’.  Some (like me) where processing what just happened, and what comes next; some were legitimately emotionally shattered.  Some were pissed off.  So…well done, Marvel!!!!
  2. If I had to pick out a single thing I was most impressed by, it was the balancing act.  I’m not going to go back and count, but every headlining hero, and more than a few surprising supporting players from the past decade made appearances.  Three or four rotating arcs/locations, and I at least, never got tired.  Credit to the editing here for keeping the story going and always going somewhere else before the audience got restless.
  3. The template has been well set now: if your goal is to create a compelling villain in one of these movies, from Magneto to Killmonger to Thanos, the audience has to understand the logic and say, ‘but you’re going way too extreme to get what you want.’  Mass genocide is mass genocide, but Thanos is just empathetic enough…

Had time to do a little homework about where Infinity War: Part II goes…still have no idea?

But why on earth would you doubt that Marvel knows what it’s doing?

 

 

migos

The weekend is upon us!

Sad to hear it confirmed (including tonight) only 3 new episodes of Atlanta left this run.

As good of a day as any to cede the Thursday spot to Migos.

Have a good one folks.  You probably know what movie review is coming Sunday night.

 

 

volume10

Spotify damn near put me in the hospital this week; this falls under the ‘automatic shares when it pops up on my playlist’.

For 4 minutes, I completely forget I’m not 19 years old anymore.

College days…

Enjoy!

 

 

Janelle-Monae-f

I know Homegirl was mentored by His Purple Highness obviously.  After a breakout ‘Hollywood’ year, this looks like the album (and tour) that will level her up to a higher level.

Digging what I’m seeing and hearing so far.

Enjoy!

 

onmyblock

I understand (kind of) that Netflix can’t promote the living heck out of every single project they put up.  I kept hearing about ‘On My Block’ by word of mouth, and I was only two episodes in before I started telling people around me, ‘You need to get involved with this,’ and now that I’ve finished season 1 (and I’ve heard Netflix has already greenlit season 2), I’m writing about it today.

The best pitch came from one of the homies who actually finished binging it before I did: ‘It’s one of those CW shows, but for us.’  Accurate.  ‘On My Block’ is an often hilarious, coming of age story centered around four teens: insecure, nerdy Ruben, trying to stay out of ‘the life’ Cesar, tomboy growing into a woman’s body Manse, and the resident goofball Jamal.  Following the kids entering the first year of high school, the series does a great job giving each member of the ensemble a relatable individual arc that doesn’t pull the overall tone too deeply into melodrama.

And it has to be said: young actors can be hit or miss, but the casting on this one is pitch perfect.  A lot of the fun of this series comes from how much we’re cheering for each of these characters and their quests.

Ten half hour episodes.  Quick and easy binge if you’re interested.