kennethology shirts

 

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PURCHASE SHIRT HERE

I’ve been getting messages about the relaunching of the shirt…I need at least 20 people to buy a shirt in order for the run to go through…so it would behoove those that buy shirts to encourage others to do so as well…

Are you a kennethologist?, an enthusiast of all things kenneth?  A friend of Tina, Sydney, Brandy, or myself?

Then stop being a jerk – and buy a shirt 🙂

– Kenneth

19.Aug – { Straight Outta Compton – Short Review }

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*Walks over to the stereo and opens the cassette deck, gently slides Lench Mob tape in…glances over to my big brother Maurice – “All on My Nut Sac” comes on…we violently embrace sacs and begin rapping every single word of the song.  It’s 1992, I am 12 and Maurice is 13 – and we were both very excited to hear what Cube had done since leaving N.W.A.  It mattered to us, not only because we were N.W.A fans, and never really took a side on the whole Cube V. N.W.A beef…but we were Hip-Hop.

The level of nostalgia that surged through my being while watching the brilliance that is “Straight Outta Compton” last weekend, is really hard to put into words.  But what’s even harder to put into words is how great of a job F. Gary Gray and Cube did with lacing this narrative with the events current to that time and how it impacted the group and their music.  Namely, police brutality, racism, and dealing with the Rodney King trial.  The riots and marches that brought national attention, eerily similar to that of Baltimore, Ferguson or any other place that the blacks are tired of being treated less than human.  They revived the emotion and feeling behind the mantra “FTP” – made you yell it at the silverscreen while they were performing it.  This time though, recall of recent events brought forth your own personal energy towards chanting the hook of one of the most controversial Hip-Hop songs every created.  Nothing is ever perfect, so to demand perfection in any bio-based movie would be absurd.  I heard some people rambling about how Snoops character didn’t look like Snoop, or Dre’s character (Corey Hawkins) didn’t look like Dre…..yeah but Corey Hawkins is a graduate of Juilliard, and he nailed the essence of Dre.  Grow up people.

Great Movie, great production, and great job bringing relativity to the narrative.

I give this movie 5 tootsie rolls and a 40oz of Old E.

– Kenneth

 

 

16.Aug – { “Hell You Talmbout” – The Question/Song of a Movement } with Tina Nagbare

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I was living and minding my own business on Thursday when Janelle Monáe blessed us with a new track out of nowhere. In case you missed it I’m talking about “Hell You Talmbout”. If you haven’t heard it yet, I invite to pause for a moment and go listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout

No really, I’ll wait. Go listen. https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout

I’m a fan of Janelle Monáe, but this isn’t just about my fandom (she’s awesome though) – how does she do this? Why does she do this to us? I’m still trying to recover from “Yoga”.

There has been a lot of talk about Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” being the song of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’m not fighting that, but it’s never really resonated with me in that way. I needed something more – something to evoke fight in me when I got tired and not a ‘feel good’ song. Then my girl Janelle showed up right on time. Oh! let me count the ways…

1. Title.
The name of the track is “Hell You Talmbout”. I actually just stared at it for several moments to process and eventually just nodded my head in agreement. I get it. Off top, she’s letting you know she doesn’t have the time. It’s not even a real question, it’s rhetorical. It’s a question that you ask with a screw face because you’re letting the person know you already don’t believe their answer. Why? Because we already know what you’re going to say won’t make sense. It’s actually in your best interest to acknowledge that the question was asked, but not attempt to answer it. Just stand there in silence and accept judgment. Kind of like when your mom asks you if ‘you’ve lost your mind’, but you don’t actually answer because you know better – an answer will only escalate the situation.

AND the phrase is written and said in the African-American Vernacular (some of you call it Ebonics) as if to say, no one gives a d**n about you and your proper English. She’s not here for your respectability politics, but we knew that when she told us to “get off my areola”, right? LOL! Unashamedly Black. PS: That’s STILL the greatest line I’ve ever heard sung.

2. Lyrics.
Ok, so I get past the title and the track starts (music and melody will be addressed next). The entire track is simply calling the names of those who have been slain at the hands of various levels of law enforcement and there are so many reasons why this is important.

a. No one was expecting this because…. how could we?

2) She has clearly aligned herself with the #BlackLivesMatter movement – on the slight chance there was any question. #SayHerName / #SayHisName has been one of the main campaigns of the movement to acknowledge that people of color are not just statistics or media headlines, but also people. They are full, entire human beings with families, friends, life goals, emotions, failures, ambitions, etc. and their humanity matters even in death – say their names. Those names…. those lives matter. Don’t forget that and ask yourself why there are so many names to be said.

 

And the *way* the names are said… with unexplainable levels of passion, exhaustion, and desperation. Is it just me or do the background vocals on the hook sound like the chorus of an old negro spiritual?? No? Just me being extra? Ok, fine.

iii. Context – She took me out by saying Emmitt Till. I wasn’t expecting that. By acknowledging that this is not merely current event content for our 24hr news cycles or add-ons to campaign reporting, she is reinforcing the message that these conditions of government-sanctioned abuse on Black bodies are the norm that Black people have been living under for generations. And like the race riots of the late 60s, we’re tired of it. The acknowledgement from Emmett Till to Sandra Bland is powerful. This is no new news, the struggle continues. That awakened something in me.

3. Melody.
Life. I got life from this track. I’m not a musician (unless 3 years of piano lessons counts for something), but I can recognize certain elements in how this song was composed and produced. And the first thing I heard was the drum. War drums were used for centuries in battle. It was a part of the communication system for troops and they were also used to let the soldiers know they were marching into battle and to help keep the pace. But the African in me loves a good drum. Drums are very an important symbol in African culture and they are present at practically every important event and/or celebration. We have celebration drums, talking drums, drums used in healing ceremonies, drums for rites of passage, drums to represent royalty, drums used in worship….. Listen… Africans love a dance ceremony and we love drums. I won’t lie; it took me a minute to even get past the drums and hear the rest of the song because there was something in that drumbeat that my body responded to immediately. Like performing a dance that pays homage to departed loved ones or that acknowledge the ancestors at the beginning of a ceremony. A dance that originates from deep in one’s spirit – from a place of reverence and respect. A dance that causes your body to move without you even noticing. This song activated that part within me – my African roots – almost immediately. And the more I listened to it, the more it gave me Fela Kuti type vibes. I like it.

THEN when I finally heard the HBCU marching band feel of the song I was done. I got all the feels. There is no mistaking there is something in this composition that links it back to African and/or African-American culture. I don’t even have words for it, just pure genius.

Well, this is it. This is what I was looking for – a battle song. A song that pulls from, as one person said, “deep in your spirit”. As far as I’m concerned Janelle Monáe has provided us with the protest song of the #BlackLivesMatter movement because it captures the rebelliousness, resilience and unapologetic attitude of our generation. This for me is our “We Shall Overcome” or better our “Strange Fruit”. But don’t worry, just like there are several songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement, there’s a place for “Alright” in our playlists as well. “Hell You Talmbout” just blows it out the water. #SorryNotSorry 🙂

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Janelle Monáe’s statement about the song: 

“This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves… Won’t you say their names?”
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10.Aug – { An Open Letter to ALL Hearts } with Brandy

hippie anarchist

Family, as I sit here in front of this PC I am afraid, I have lost my way a few times since joining the blog squad and spent many nights writing without posting due to internal conflict. As you may know I am fundamentally predestined to be seen as an extrovert, but feel at my best when home alone, with my books and thoughts due to my Introvert-Cancerian-Hibernation loving nature. Any who, this may not touch you right where I would like, but if I may I would like to offer some advice on avoiding the confidence lacking, sorrowful rut that is opportunistically sitting near us all.

  • Your happiness is only dependent on you, make time for yourself, have inner dialogue and be decisive.
  • When people show you that you have to vie for their attention or affection, ask yourself why you want it? Why you are their option and not their choice? Move on smartly.
  • When you have the opportunity to express yourself in a forum with which you have real feelings, DO NOT clam up, make your claim and know that you spoke your truth.
  • Give of yourself only what you can afford to be indebted, do not give with the hopes of feeling, money or consideration being returned… Stay in the Positive!
  • If you feel that you are in need of space, take that shit, it is hard enough being available, but to forgo the chance to recharge hurts everyone.

I have felt so pissed with all the racially motivated and completely disgusting things going on in our country; felt so badly for the way that the POTUS is constantly bombarded with ignorant rhetoric; annoyed at the expenditure of love and devotion I have displayed to those I thought worthy, but felt like chum when laying down for the night… But I know I am not alone! Thank you for letting me spill my tea, offer my thoughts and wish you all a better day than those I have had since March this year. I plan to submit to my creative juices and share with you all even if it means “not so awesome” comments; either way I am fed!

Love & Light, H-Anarchist OUT!