Archive for December, 2016


 

2016

Taking stock of the past twelve months…

For the first time (within one calendar year), I auditioned as Othello, Dr. King, and Malcolm X for different stage productions across town. Malcolm came post-November, and it was ‘Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X’ at that.  I would have given Denzel a run for his money that day!  I’m comfortably in my sweet spot with the character types I excel in.  And it’s starting to mesh with the characters people see in me when I walk in the room and do a monologue.  Good times.

Private life feels settled for the first time in years as well.  There’s the Family, there’s the ‘Fam’, there are friends and there are work friends.  Current events have reinforced the natural bonds between myself and those with a common religious identity, a common racial experience; common politics or just a common vibe with how we look at the world.  More goodness.

One of the first things I took from Stella Adler is still one of the best: “Your aim should be to have a life that includes playing the part…”  Not the other way around.  My defining story of 2016, I don’t think anyone involved will be put out by me sharing this…

I got an invite about a possible job with the Los Angeles Lakers.  My Lakers.  They were looking for someone passionate about the franchise, comfortable with the camera and with live crowds, who they could trust to not talk about grabbing pussies on a hot mic.  They thought I might be a good fit.

But here was the issue: one of my brothers was getting married on the same timeline they needed to see me.  And I was in the wedding party.

Now, when I was say, 25? Would I have burned a personal relationship to the ground for a potential dream job opportunity?  Some of you know the answer to that better than others (and will never let me forget it).

But I’m not that guy anymore.  Haven’t been for years.  The wedding weekend was an experience, and of course the Lakers understood the timing was just bad, so long term they appreciated my professionalism while getting a peek into my value system as a man.  My ego was bruised for a couple days (no need to lie about that), but I did the right thing.

And not that I needed the Universe to further validate me, but not too long after that, my Hollywood patrons reached out to me out of the blue and gave me a part on one of their projects.  So you can look forward to seeing your boy in front of the camera again next summer.  If not sooner.

I haven’t always had the gift of relationship building, but I’ve learned. I’m always learning and still love doing so.

So in the year I’ll always remember for my house being completely put in order, I look outside (or in 2016, I log on) and…yeah.  The goodbyes this year have felt especially hard (like the two beloved people up top, just for starters).  Things seem especially dark on the world stage.  I have no naive optimism for you going into the next year.  Just a renewed commitment to do the right thing, even if it seems like it’s going to be harder than ever to do so.

Onward and Upward.  See you in 2017.

 

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Life
I wonder
Will it take me under
I don’t know

Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial
Lifestyle cruising blue behind my waters
No welfare supporters, more conscious of the way we raise our daughters
Days are shorter, nights are colder
Feeling like life is over, these snakes strike like a cobra
The world’s hot my son got not
Evidently, it’s elementary, they want us all gone eventually
Troopin’ out of state for a plate, knowledge
If coke was cooked without the garbage we’d all have the top dollars
Imagine everybody flashin’, fashion
Designer clothes, lacing your click up with diamond vogues
Your people holdin’ dough, no parole
No rubbers, go in raw imagine, law with no undercovers
Just some thoughts for the mind
I take a glimpse into time
Watch the blimp read, “The World Is Mine”

If I ruled the world, imagine that
I’d free all my sons, I love ’em love ’em baby
Black diamonds and pearls
Could it be, if you could be mine we’d both shine
If I ruled the world
Still livin’ for today, in these last days and times

The way to be, paradise like relaxin’, Black, Latino and Anglo-Saxon
Armani, exchange the reins
Cash, Lost Tribe of Shabazz, free at last
Brand new whips to crash then we laugh in the ill’er path
The Villa house is for the crew, how we do
Trees for breakfast, dime sexes and Benz stretches
So many years of depression make me vision
The better livin’, type of place to raise kids in
Open they eyes to the lies, history’s told foul
But I’m as wise as the old owl, plus the Gold Child
Seeing things like I was controlling, click rollin’
Trickin’ six digits on kicks and still holdin’
Trips to Paris, I civilized every savage
Gimme one shot I turn trife life to lavish
Political prisoner set free, stress free
No work release purple M3’s and jet skis
Feel the wind breeze in West Indies
I’d make Coretta Scott-King mayor o’the cities and reverse themes to Willies
It sounds foul but every girl I meet to go downtown
I’d open every cell in Attica send em to Africa

If I ruled the world, imagine that
I’d free all my sons, I love ’em love ’em baby
Black diamonds and pearls
Could it be, if you could be mine we’d both shine
If I ruled the world
Still livin’ for today, in these last days and times

And then we’ll walk right up to the sun
Hand in hand
We’ll walk right up to the sun
We won’t land
We’ll walk right up to the sun
Hand in hand
We’ll walk right up to the sun
We won’t land

You’d love to hear the story how the thugs live in worry
Duck down in car seats, heat’s mandatory
Runnin’ from Jake, gettin’ chased, hunger for papes
These are the breaks, many mistakes go down out of state
Wait, I had to let it marinate we carry weight
Tryin’ to get laced, flip the ace stack, the safe
Millionaire plan to keep the gat with the cock hammer
Makin’ moves in Atlanta, back and forth scrambler
‘Cause you could have all the chips, be poor or rich
Still nobody want a nigga havin’ shit
If I ruled the world and everything in it, sky’s the limit
I push a Q-4-5 infinite
It wouldn’t be no such thing as jealousies or be felony
Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see, but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck

If I ruled the world, if I ruled, if I ruled
I’d free all my sons, if I ruled, if I ruled
Black diamonds and pearls, black diamonds, black diamonds
Could it be, if you could be mine, we’d both shine
If I ruled the world
Still livin’ for today, in these last days and times

If I ruled the world, if I ruled, if I ruled
I’d free all my sons, black diamonds
I love em love em baby
Black diamonds and pearls, if I ruled
If I ruled the world

If I ruled the world
I love em love em baby

 

‘Rogue One’

 

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The most hardcore Star Wars fanboy I grew up with hasn’t seen this yet, so out of respect for my boy I won’t go into full spoiler detail here…

I will say this off the bat: I’m on record as being big on Daisy Ridley, and black actors stick together, I want John Boyega to have all the success in the world.  Having said all of that…

Rogue One is the Star Wars movie a lot of us thought we were getting last Christmas.  If for no other reason than it’s not a remix of earlier storylines or iconic moments, it’s fantastic.

A New Hope is the foundation that spawned a never ending franchise.  The Empire Strikes Back is (possibly) the greatest sequel ever and (still) the best Star Wars movie to many of us, because, as logic would dictate, empires way more often than not dominate and crush anyone who challenges them (which is why they’re empires).

But ‘rebellions are built on hope’ and this worthy prequel to Episode IV delivers.  I’m not the first or last film geek to say this but it’s true: a lot of the joy around this movie is being reminded, like with Empire, that it’s reasonable to make a really good genre film that ‘happens to be set’ in the Star Wars sandbox.  Word is George Lucas genuinely loved this one, and I believe it.  The circle of influence feels complete; in a good way this has traces of Seven Samurai in it.

Lucas also loves the CGI as we know.  My nitpick is there.  Maybe the generation younger than me will just roll with it as normal, but for me: when a human character appears who I know can’t possibly be there, I get pulled out of the movie.  Actually, let me rephrase that: there’s a one scene free pass.  When it happened in the already classic final sequence of the movie, I cheered as loud as anyone.  When it was integral to the story, and someone kept appearing in scene after scene…it kept reminding me I was watching something that wasn’t real.  But like I said, I’m old, so my nieces and nephews will probably care less.

On the whole though, Disney’s bought themselves some goodwill for the stand alone anthology films a lot of us are still cynical about.  I wouldn’t be upset if Rogue One got an 8 or 9 seed if there are 10 Best Picture nominees come Oscar time.

 

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It’s the weekend, and not just any weekend…

You’re getting a movie review Sunday night.  You’re first two guesses don’t count…

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See you then.  Enjoy!

 

 

gmichael

Upbeat, booty shaking mode today, so…

Enjoy!

 

 

dylan

Today, we pay tribute to the newest Nobel Prize winner.  His lyrics influenced more people than you may realize.

Enjoy.

 

 

warreng

Saw an appreciation of this dude recently.  He wasn’t Death Row, but he absolutely had his moment when we were younger.

Enjoy!

 

 

frankxmas

Drove past the Capitol building with the lit up tree, so we’re starting this week with a little class.

Enjoy!

 

 

notloveactually

It’s the weekend.

In the middle of the holiday season.

Have a good one folks!

 

 

actually

All due respect to Mariah, this is easily my favorite version.

Obviously.

Enjoy!