Category: Trojan War


 

commerce

No music yet, this one is mainly for the family and friends who couldn’t make it to Commerce.

A short video has been put together featuring Aaron & I talking a little ‘Trojan War’ along with some of the student athletes we met at the Texas A&M Commerce talking about their own experiences as student athletes.

It’s nicely edited together (while also reminding me to hold my diction a little better when I’m not in full Actor mode).

Enjoy!

 

 

jedisteps

So last night around this time I was in Texas with Aaron and my old professor Dr. Rodriguez talking about ‘Trojan War’ and the Business and life.  I’m familiar with Southern hospitality because of my roots but it was still a fun night for myself and Aaron and judging by the immediate feedback it seems the feeling was mutual.  I talked on a live microphone about a lot of the things many of you are used to hearing me say here: I’ve had an incredibly blessed life I wouldn’t trade with anyone else, I have more I plan to do, but the state of the world and my age has reignited my desire to be very active in helping the next generation do things I probably won’t see.

So short version I was on full Kenobi mode last night, thus today’s song choice.

Enjoy!

 

 

trojan_war_poster_

So now that the press release is out, I can announce I’ll be in Dallas at the end of the month with Aaron Rahsaan Thomas to intro and do a Q&A for our 30 for 30 ‘Trojan War.’  Dallas has always treated me well and we are both flattered to be invited to share our thoughts on the filmmaking process and probably a few other things if time allows.

Details are in the doc below, if you’re in the area, hope you can make it out.

trojan-war

 

1122001

It’s not just the weekend but a holiday weekend at that.

I’ll be in Dallas supporting my team (FIGHT ON!) so no Soapbox on Sunday.

Back Monday night.  Be safe and enjoy yourselves!

 

 

artgetdown

So there’s the names you recognize because it’s been in the marketing. Baz Luhrmann. Nas. Nelson George if you’re a hip hop head.

The name not as heavily promoted but who played a significant role of his own is my brother in many things in this life, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, officially credited as a Co-Executive Producer on ‘The Get Down’, which you can start streaming tonight on Netflix (or possibly right now depending on when you read this.)

I’ve enjoyed the hype leading up to this as much as most of you have, and I know the sacrifices Aaron made to be a part of this project, so I have high hopes as both a friend and a fan for this one.

Six episodes now, with the latter six coming next year.  Can’t wait.

Congrats Aaron!  And the rest of you, make this a part of your weekend!

cassius

Relieved.

Way back when, I was an intensely serious child.  Most everyone admired me for it, in different ways.  I was intelligent.  I was curious.  I was ‘angry’, in the sense I was fascinated by all the whys and hows of what brought all of us to where we are.  I was an avid student of Black history.  Hollywood history.  American history.

It’s always the little, ‘insignificant’ details you remember.  At some point, during senior year as we were saying our goodbyes, one of the guys said to me simply, ‘We all love you and definitely need to have brothers like you around.  But don’t forget to have some fun.’

That’s how it started, it was really that simple.  A lot more often, my choices became a reflection of someone who could take the weight of the world off his shoulders once in a while, and enjoy this life.  Spending a spring at the Playboy Mansion. The ‘Tony Montana Dream Weekend’ in South Beach. Dinner dates with WWE Divas.  And a million other episodes I’ve either genuinely forgot about, or deliberately refuse to talk about publicly.

So I’ve had fun. Too much fun? That’s debatable. Fun at the cost of other things? Sure, but even at my least responsible, I always accepted every decision I make comes with a price.

I have been doing this long enough to accept the question, not in my own mind, but in the minds of others, of whether I still had it in within myself to be the completely focused, passionate, articulate and intelligent, socially conscious and driven boy I was when so many friends, family, and mentors invested in me, and told everyone who would listen ‘Malik is the one who’s going to ‘do it’ and he’s not going to sell out what he stands for to get there.’

So I’m relieved.

I’m relieved I’ve lived long enough to grow from a pure ideologue into a three dimensional human being.

I’m relieved more often than not I’ve surrounded myself with people who gave me the latitude to grow, to make mistakes and learn from them.

I’m relieved that I’m able to live my life on my terms without doing major harm to anyone else (to my knowledge).

I’m relieved I’ve found avenues that allow me to honor those who came before me, and ideally allow me to do things that will benefit the next generation of people who look like me or have names like mine.

I’m relieved I’ve been able to build a personal and private life where the only agenda is ‘Do we enjoy each other’s company? Do we have a good time together? Do we support each other’s dreams?’

I’m relieved I’ve lived long enough and worked hard enough to get to the point where all the different elements that make up my life finally complement each other.

I’m relieved that while I know something will eventually go bad, on the whole I’ve grown into a man who enjoys life and loves life and is motivated to keep going.

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

Eid Mubarak.

Back after 4th of July weekend.

fullartfradieu

Uh, your bad self
Help me break this down from off the shelf
Here’s a music servin’ you so use it
Papa’s got a brand new funk
Get down (party for your right)
Huh, let’s get it on
Like we said before
They say the brothers causin’ trouble
Hate to bust their bubble
‘Cause we rumble
From our lower level
To condition your condition
(We’re gonna do a song)
That you never heard before
Make you all jump along to the education
Brothers gonna work it out
And stop chasin’
Brothers, brothers gonna work it out

You got it what it takes
Go get it where you want it?
Come get it get involved
‘Cause the brothers in the street are willing to work it out

So many of us in limbo
How to get it on, it’s quite simple
Three stones from the sun
We need a piece of this rock
Our goal indestructible soul
Answers to this quizzin’
To the Brothers in the streetSchools and the prisons
History shouldn’t be a mystery
Our stories real history
Not his story
We gonna work it one day
Till we all get paid
The right way in full, no bull
Talkin’, no walkin’, drivin’, arrivin’ in style
Soon you’ll see what I’m talkin’ ’bout
‘Cause one day
The brothers gonna work it out
Brothers, brothers gonna work it out

You got it what it takes
Go get it where you want it?
Come get it get involved
‘Cause the brothers in the street
Are willing to work it out
Let’s get it on we are willin’
Let’s get it on, let’s get it on we are willin’
Let’s get it on, let’s get it on, let’s get it on we are willin’

Now we are ready if you are ready

In 1995, you’ll twist to this
As you raise your fist to the music
United we stand, yes divided we fall
Together we can stand tall
Brothers that try to work it out
They get mad, revolt, revise, realize
They’re super bad
Small chance a smart brother’s
Gonna be a victim of his own circumstance
Sabotaged, Shellshocked, rocked and ruled
Day in the life of a fool
Like I said before to live it low
Life take you time, time yo go slow
Look here, not a thing to fear
Brother to brother not another as sincere
Teach a man how to be father
To never tell a woman he can’t bother
You can’t say you don’t know
What I’m talkin’ ’bout
But one day brothers gonna work it out

You got it what it takes
Go get it where you want it?
Come get it get involved
‘Cause the brothers in the street
Are willing to work it out

Let’s get it on we are willin’
Let’s get it on, let’s get it on we are willin’
Let’s get it on, let’s get it on, let’s get it on we are willin’
Now we are ready if you are ready

 

BabyAziz

As soon as your born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool,
Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free,
But you’re still fucking peasents as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There’s room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill,
A working class hero is something to be.
A working class hero is something to be.
If you want to be a hero well just follow me,
If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

 

IMG_6482

Soon to be retired Kobe Bryant said something once I liked. Paraphrasing here, ‘Before you get the ring, they’ll say you’re one of the guys who can’t win the ring.  You get one, they say you can’t get two.  And on and on, so the talk never stops.’ So just focus on the work, knowing people will find some reason to criticize you no matter what you do.

This year, more than any since I first moved to L.A., I really fell in love with ‘the Process’ again.  I wake up every morning with a smile on my face like I used to. Having a year plus of meditation under my belt helps.  I think to be truthful getting burned a few times around the block helped as well.  I don’t have ‘plans’ anymore.  To be clear, I have goals and strategies in place to accomplish the goals.  But we know what God does to plans.  So I always give myself enough flexibility to deal with whatever unexpectedly comes.  I’m more relaxed with this mindset and it shows.

‘Trojan War’ is the gift that keeps on giving.  Having some space now since when it came out, I can digest all the different lessons I took from that experience.  My personal biggest takeaway from that project?  If I can contribute to and be a major part of a ‘dream’ project, without crossing a line I don’t feel comfortable crossing, either as a black man, a Muslim or a generally ethical human being?  Why cross the line on projects that are straightforward jobs?  Why cross the line in life? So everything I’m building and everything that’s coming, you can thank Aaron and ESPN for raising the bar and proving I can do it my way.

Some of you ‘Scandal’ fans became familiar with a line a lot of grew up with: ‘You have to work twice as hard to get half of what they have.’  So with my double minority status, does that mean I have to work four times as hard?  Or, actually, to get everything I want and feel I deserve, eight times as hard to really finish the job?

Challenge accepted.

I’ve never really had a ‘perfect example’ of a single person who’s covered all the bases I try to cover in life (racial, spiritual, professional).  It’s been a huge blessing and a huge curse at times to see no one really filling what I feel is ‘my spot’.  What I have embraced the past year, especially in the climate we live in, is the impossible standard I have to hold myself to, to even have a chance.  I make a genuine mistake, it gets used as proof I ‘don’t deserve the opportunity.’  I get approached sideways, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a genuine competitive threat, or an attempt to pull me down and away from my goals, I always have to take the high road.  Even if human nature would make it obvious I’d be more than willing to handle it another way.  Can’t do it.  Nine times out of ten, I’ll have a lot more to lose by getting involved in every minor slight.  For all intents and purposes, it’s been the progressive removal of my ‘off switch’ in service of something bigger than myself.

So, thanks Obama, for giving me an example to shoot for.

Been a great year, but more to come.

Back next week.

The-Big-Short-25

CHRIS: And here to present the next two awards, here is Academy Award nominee Emma Stone, and the Associate Producer of ‘Trojan War,’ Malik Aziz!

(audience applause as they take the stage)

EMMA: An outlaw trying to survive in a room of seven Hateful men. A woman supporting and coming to grips with her husband’s changing sexual identity.  A partner trying to reel in one of the greatest creative minds of the last century. A few of the great performances from this year.

MALIK: That’s right! And you know what else they all have in common?

EMMA: (awkwardly fidgeting) Um…what?

MALIK: They’re all nominated tonight for Best Supporting Actress!

EMMA: (relieved) Yes. Yes!

MALIK: Wait, what did you think I was going to say?

EMMA: Nothing. Nothing.

Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Viklander – the Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Who Should Win: Probably Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Who Will Win: One of this year’s ‘It Girls: Viklander

Who I’m Cheering For: A small chance based on the movie that McAdams wins, and she’s pretty solid in everything (including last year’s True Detective).

Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Christian Bale – The Big Short

Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Who Should Win: Hmmm.  I could make a case for Ruffalo. I could make a case for Rocky.

Who Will Win: Everything’s lined up for Sly, and if Mike and Ryan are happy for him then I am too (I guess).

Who I’m Cheering For: