Tag Archive: USC


 

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I was aware I hadn’t seen him make any public appearances in years, but still felt a little sad tonight to hear about the passing of Hugh Hefner.

First, the big stuff that everyone will touch on, in one way or another.  The magazine of course, which came onto the zeitgeist at the perfect moment.  One of the great American brands; who can argue that?  Besides the magazine, there is the annual Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, there are/were Clubs, the Logo, and the Mansion.

I was still very much in the ‘new kid in town’ phase when I worked at the Playboy Mansion.  I was still in school, so this was probably my second come up from being in the ‘Mafia’.  I met Hef my first day there, have NO idea what I said to him, but he smiled and shook my hand and welcomed me to his home.  I got the private tour early on.  When I look at my dream list for Aziz Manor: the library, the screening room, the basement gym, the luxury car garage… the mental blueprint for those things didn’t come from a comic book or Neverland; it was from my experience in Holmby Hills.  I may be off on the timeline, but I want to say my Kansas buddies started referring to me as ‘Hollywood’ around this time.  But, I mean, I was a kid in my early twenties, what can I say?  Depending on who’d you ask, making it feel ‘normal’ to have a chef make your gourmet lunch from scratch everyday, or to have casual conversations with Playboy Bunnies on a regular basis, was either one of the best or worst things to happen in my formative years in La La Land.

From one Midwestern born kid to another, thanks for the memories Hef.  Icon gets thrown around a little too much for my taste, but you were the real thing.

 

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kareem

Quite a month for me.

A sports fan dream weekend (minus the actual game) and time spent with two legendary fan bases.  An Indian mendhi and a Muslim wedding in Pasadena.  A black church funeral in Inglewood.  Even by my normal standards, I think it’s very possible I touched on every single element of my personal identity the past few weekends.  It’s been a wild stretch.

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You can’t be all things to all people (and you really shouldn’t even try.)  But I take a lot of pride in the bonds I’ve made and nurtured over a lifetime, all without crossing over to the point of being phony.  And having said that, I know there are still people who I don’t see enough of.  And there are still relationships I’m actively looking to create.  As my comic book alter ego could be described, I can be ‘comfortably alone but never lonely.’

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The end of the ‘Malik Fall Tour 2016’ has been an unplanned but welcome visit from my father.  When he arrived, I asked him what restaurant in L.A. he wanted to go to, and naturally he chose Popeye’s.  As we ate in comfortable silence, ‘Let It Be’ came over the restaurant’s loudspeakers.  It drew an amused smile out of me.

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I infamously and truthfully spent years putting other things in front of my health and my personal life.  A job that would ‘change everything’, the next big party, the next object of my lust, the next ‘you only live once’ experience.  And I own all of it.

But it seems even before I course corrected, I was a ‘good enough’ dude to build these meaningful relationships to carry me through my adult life.  I’m reminded often that ‘having people’ is not any kind of a given.  I won’t detail any of it here other than to say I’ve been humbled to the core of my being repeatedly over the past month by those who think the highest of me.  If anything can describe why I push myself the way that I do, it’s because I don’t always feel like I am this person that my loved ones describe me to be, but I’m trying to live up to what they see in me.

(Is that real enough for you?)

Onward and Upward.

 

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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!

 

 

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First, Kaepernick.  Don’t have much to add here.  My father, uncles, cousins, good friends are all veterans so I’ve always stood for the national anthem out of respect for them.  But if the man doesn’t want to do it, and he’s expressed why he doesn’t want to do it, I’ve been there too.  And I’m the last person to tell someone to do something they don’t want to do for the sake of appearances.

My original topic for this Sunday was going to be ‘black masculinity’, and how everyone from Nate Parker to Jaden Smith are making us think about what that’s meant, historically and what it means right now. As I sit here, my thoughts feel like a work in progress and not a fully formed idea.  Not yet anyway.

So today is as good of a Sunday as any to say ‘Thank You.’  The more personal impetus behind the masculinity idea I’ve been thinking about this week is I had to ask someone for help.  Out of all the demons I’ve beaten, my ego and my pride are the last two I haven’t yet fully conquered.  Everyone has that problem to a degree, but there’s a deeper complex black men are given at birth about not looking ‘weak’.  A lot of brothers with much more serious problems than I’ve ever had never ask or seek out the help they need because they don’t want to look like a ‘punk’.  I promise I’ll come back to this topic (on a large scale) before the year is out.

A lot of trial and error, but swallowing my pride is easier for me now because I’ve spent a significant part of my life surrounding myself with quality people and attracting like minds.  Ali passing at the beginning of Ramadan and the rise of Trumpism took me from year 4 of my 5 year plan to be a more vocal advocate for my community to year…11; but the pieces of my life had already fallen into place before things beyond my control happened.

So thank you to all of you who contribute to, support, and encourage me to be ‘MALIK AZIZ.’  The Wyandotte folks, the Jayhawks, the Trojans, the Ummah, the Frat; the music geeks, the film geeks, the nerds, the artists, the activists, the politicos; the Romantics who work for true love and friendship over notches on an imaginary belt or friend list, the old heads who worry for the kids coming up behind us and are determined to do what you can to make it easier for them than it was for us.

You all matter to me and I appreciate you.  I carry the public image of a loner, but I’m reminded daily how many people have my back.

lauryn

True: this was the first woman I proposed to (settle down, I was high and in the pit of the Granada, she gave me a death glare from the stage when she saw me).

Also true: a couple years later I actually met her backstage in K.C. and we had a short conversation. She was at her professional apex (when today’s song was out) and I just became a Trojan officially.  She was the first ‘star’ I ever met and could have justifiably treated me any kind of way.  Couldn’t have been nicer and gave me her information (again, settle down, all business).  I tell you this to say professionally speaking,  she set the standard in terms of no matter how high or low I go on the status totem pole, be respectful to ‘the little people’ and stay grounded.

So on that note, enjoy!

TrojanWarAaron

No song this weekend. I haven’t made this announcement here yet but…

Our 30 for 30 ‘Trojan War’ is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix.  For those of you outside the U.S. (or without cable), you can watch our film anytime and nearly anywhere you please.

That’s your weekend homework, enjoy!

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Overwhelmed.

Aaron and I have both watched ‘Trojan War’ repeatedly before tonight; there was a ‘USC premiere’ and a ‘Hollywood premiere’ last week, so we both felt good about how the ‘core demographic’ would react.  But still…

This week, and today especially, the sheer number of you who reposted, retweeted, and otherwise spread the word about the film coming on has been completely humbling.  I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’m not even going to try to name names because there were so many it would be a guarantee I would forget someone.

Homies from high school, family of course. Old teachers who pushed me in the right direction. The boys from the college days that swiftly passed.  Acting friends and industry friends, both still trying to break in, and well established.  My people from every day job I’ve ever held down while I pursue my dreams. You know, but you don’t completely realize how many people are cheering for you until something like this goes down, and everyone tells you in their own way how proud they are of you.

I know what I just said about naming names, but I should thank the people whose names and faces you heard and saw who made ‘Trojan War’ what it is: everybody at ESPN for letting us be a part of this, Keyshawn Johnson, Shelley Smith, Dylann Tharp, Joe Perracchio, Mario Diaz, Michael B. Jordan, Matt Leinart, Lendale White, Pete Carroll.  To name a few.

As far as you go Aaron…I’ll let Coach Vermeil take it from here…

Today was a good day.

fullartfradieu

(updating Career Bucket List…)

‘Producer on a feature film before I hit 40?’ – Check.

Pull off the rare ‘one for us and one for them’ at the same time? – Check.

Work with a cast member from my all time favorite show The Wire ? – Check.

Work on my favorite current documentary series, 30 for 30? – Check.

Tie together my legacy as a Starkie and a Trojan in a way I could never possibly plan? – Check.

Fight On!

Mike

About that time, gang.

But first, here’s Aaron delivering his Director Statement on ‘Trojan War.’

Fight On!

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13845718

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The press screening last night was a surreal experience for yours truly.  I’m so used to supporting my friends and their projects, it’s really different when you’re one of the centers of attention.

We seem to have pleased our core demographic.  Next Tuesday we’ll see how the world overall sees it.

Until then, here’s an early review:

http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/2015/10/07/first-look-trojan-war-doesnt-make-apologies-for-carroll-era/