Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Statue Of A Man

Men are funny. We develop at a rate unlike any creature on this planet. It's as if we go through several stages of maturity. In my discussions I find that some of you, (women) are unfamiliar with the breakdown and process of the adult male. Here is a quick tutorial for you to refer to as necessary.

Think of the development of a man, as if you were carving a statue. From birth to 18, is the creation of the material. Based upon proper or improper raising, a man can be made of solid marble...or silly putty. The lessons taught to him during adolescence, are what forms his character and being, his fortitude and tenacity.

A man's 20's are his "chiseling" period. This is where he is being formed, through hard, aggressive swings. Repeated blows coming from all directions are what bring about his creation, and as his 20's progress and after more and more swings you can see him take shape. This isn't a delicate process. If mistakes are made, (and usually are) the shape can be drastically changed. But if caught early enough, they can be corrected and compensated for. Throughout this decade, all of the old external layers are removed. What is left is a new form, though still made of the same stuff, it has been proven to stand the bombardment of life. No longer just a mass or lump, you can tell what you're looking at.

Which brings us to his 30's. Really until about 37. This is his "sanding" period. His form is apparent, but still rather rough around the edges. In this time of life, detail is taken. With slower more planned out moves, he smooths out the hard and sharp surfaces, leaving them cool and refined. This is where distinct lines can be seen and bold features exposed. This is a crucial period. Not enough time spent on detail can lead to a structurally unsound or rough exterior. Uncaught errors here, usually go unfixed. So every now and again you might have to bring back the hammer.

This leads us to his late 30's/40's, this is the "lacquer" period. When a man gets that durable finish. All of the chiseling and sanding are done. Put the tools away. This is the process of getting him weather ready. All sealed up and prepared for any change in conditions or enviornment. This is the stage when you know what he is, and what he's made of, now it's about making him built to last.

Leading us to 50 which is all about "polish". This is just about the shine. We're past change or alterations. It's about making what you've got look it's best. From that point on, dusting and low maintenance will be the rest of his existance.

As men age, our demands become less because we resist change. If everything stays as it was we will be content forever.

Ladies please remember, George Clooney wasn't "George Clooney" until he was 35. Before that he was on "The facts of life" and "Roseanne" with a mullet. From Will Smith to every James Bond, we don't hit our stride until at least 30, so try to bare with us. Now this in no way releases men from responsibility or accountability...just know that we do get better.

I understand this is a very loose interpretation of male developement, use it only as a guide.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

King's Declaration

First take a moment and view this clip on. Don't worry, I'll wait...

The question is, "Why doesn't anyone ever quote these words?" Really, why doesn't anyone? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on how no document, law, mandate or government allowance, will make you believe and know the value of yourself.

"If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul, and sign with the pen and ink of self-asserted manhood, his own emancipation proclamation."

There was a time when African Americans in this country were united. United in the idea and dream that through struggle and strife there would be salvation. That our pain would lead to promise, of a better life and a better way. Where did we stray?

Dr. King addressed the pride and beauty of being black, regardless of the label or thought, that was trying to be imposed upon us. He went on to point out that all things associated with black in America were; dirty, evil, or sinister. Yet all things white were to be seen as; pure, clean, and virtuous. That blacks in America were being taught and trained to look down on themselves.

Why isn't this quoted? Why isn't the lesson of personal responsibility, the value of manhood and self worth, recited over and over again?

African American males in this country are given nearly Vegas odds to be successful. 70% of all black males in America will have been in either jail or prison by the age of 30. 70% of all black children in America are born out of wedlock. African American males make up nearly 6% of the nation's population, yet make up over 30% of the prison population. Sounds like at least a few could benefit from those words. Seems like maybe one or two people need to hear about the signifigance of self respect and the importance of manhood.

Not just young, but all African Americans in the United States need to hear this. Know that as individuals, we have to stand up. Know that it's within ourselves to rise above our situations, to be stronger than our circumstances and determined to beat our detriment.

Remove the idea of being "saved". No state issued check or government bail out will bring us the freedom to stand up. No dollar amount is worth our manhood, our self worth, our pride. Like a puppet coming to life, by cutting the strings we may fall down. But if we our resilient, we will rise.

Dr. King may be best known for his "Dream", but if we are truly to be "free at last", we MUST accept responsibility for our own lives. Walking and carrying ourselves with the pride, strength, and dignity, necessary to be successful, to survive.

"Don't let anybody take your manhood."

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Verdict Is In...Divided

On January 1, 2009 in Oakland CA, Oscar Grant an unarmed black man was handcuffed, face down, and then shot in the back by a white police officer. Former police officer Johannes Mehersle detained Grant on a BART station platform responding to a disturbance call allegedly involving Grant. He stated that Grant was resisting arrest and being verbally abusive. Officers arrived and detained several individuals. Grant was lying on his stomach handcuffed when Mehersle drew his weapon and fired into his back. The officer claimed that he thought he was reaching for his taser. The events were captured on multiple digital and cell phone cameras in front of dozens of spectators.

22 year old Grant died and the city of Oakland was outraged. Mehersle was arrested.

A verdict was reached July 8, 2010. The Oakland police department prepared for the worst, increasing their numbers and presence throughout the city. The people wanted justice. The verdict came in...guilty...of involuntary manslaughter. A verdict that comes with a 2 to 4 year sentence, and because of the involvement of a gun a possible 10 years added to that.

Once again, Oakland was outraged. Citizens began lighting trash cans and smashing windows. Bottles were thrown at police officers and looting began.

A verdict reached without the presence of one African American juror more or less passed down a slap on the wrist to a white police officer for killing a black man...

Now I can personally say that I was upset when this verdict came in. I know our justice and legal system isn't perfect. I know that people are not equal in a court of law, whether it be based on ethnicity or tax bracket, exceptions are made.

What stands out most about this is not if Mehersle received a lighter sentence than if he were black and Grant white. Nor that he was treated differently because he was a police officer. What sticks with me most, still to this moment, are the responses.

I typically read comments to news articles or even other blogs to get a feel for other points of view. I like to see different takes and perceptions of the same event. But this particuliar event has me disturbed.

The blatent, consistant, and overwhelming negative feeling on African Americans in this country. Granted, a blog or news comment doesn't speak for everyone, but they do make up a good percentage.

The repeated use of the "N" word and deragatory feeling of blacks as a whole seemed prevalent on sight after sight after sight. It just seems that Black is now synonomous with, "thug" or "ghetto". That black people are; ignorant, irresponsible, lazy, drug addicted criminals. People going as far as to say that Grant "got what he deserved because he probably was nothing more than a gang banger anyway."

Views on white Americans wasn't much higher coming from the African American prospective.

This country has made many strides in the ways of equality, but we have to be honest, we have a long way to go. People still have deep rooted views and opinions about other races that lead to nothing but division. Would the people of Oakland have responded the same if the cops and Grant were the same race? Or if Grant were white and the officer black? If everyone involved was black, would it even be news?

In a country that just elected its first African American as its 44th president, we are still struggling to break old habits and ways of thinking. Yes we as a nation have greatly progressed for this to have happened, but let us not lose sight of our goal. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Not that one day black people would rise to the top and look down upon past oppressors, but that one day we would all reach the mountain top and stand together. In acknowledgement of our differences and embracing our diversity.

Oscar Grant is gone, no riot, law suit, or prison sentence is going to change that. His 22 years of life will forever be overshadowed by his death. This senseless passing has opened my eyes a little wider to the necessity of open dialogue. For people to get to know each other and to have a true understanding of our differences and similarities. Only then can we filter out the misconceptions, rumors, and stereotypes.

Johannes Mehersle may have taken the life of Oscar Grant, but let's not allow this nation's dream of unity to die as well.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Cold Cup of Coffee: Alicia Keys

This is a special edition of A Moment With Morris. This is part of an ongoing series I affectionately titled "A Cold Cup of Coffee". Bringing you real life without the sweeteners, a cold and sometimes bitter, but always necessary sip of reality. This time we're looking at, Miss Alicia Keys.

First and foremost I have to give the nod to James Hannah for originally bringing this to my attention. Now we're all familiar with Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys; poet, accomplished pianist, actress and singer. But there is a side to her recently brought to light that completely took me by surprise.

The BET (Black Entertainment Television) awards aired last week, all in all a good show. The part that rubbed me the wrong way was, who was sitting in the front row. Pregnant Alicia Keys and her new boyfriend hip hop producer Swizz Beatz, all hugged up playing kissy face. Now it's not the PDA that has me irritated, it's the fact that Swizz Beatz has a wife and child at home. I'll wait...

That's right, Mr. Beatz is a family man.

Apparently two years ago the two met and began working together. A certain degree of flirting was happening, so much that Swizz's wife (Mashonda) confronted Alicia and told her to leave her husband alone. Obviously she didn't listen. Now Swizz has left his wife and is having a baby with Alicia. They're even talking marriage.

If Swizz and his wife had differences and it ended in divorce, I wouldn't care. It's the fact that he cheated, abandoned his family, and is parading his mistress around on national television. Perfect, so when his son asks, "why isn't Daddy here?" his mom can just point at the screen.

As for Miss Keys, how can you travel around the globe trying to inspire, empower and mentor young women when you're out hoeing. Sleeping with another woman's husband makes you far from a "Superwoman".

Swizz you're weak. I understand she's "Alicia Keys" but that's just b.s.

Alicia did a song called "Karma", let's all wait for that train. Pregnant by another woman's husband...that should be 2 maybe even 3 albums worth of pain coming your way. She's about to become the new Mary J. Blige. In case you forgot, this behavior is why rapper Eve dropped him.

It just pains me to see such "whorrible" behavior celebrated. That's it, I'm turning in my Alicia collection. You know they used to mark women like this with the letter "A"...isn't it ironic...don't you think.

I think this irritates me so much because I was such a fan. She was one of the few that made it without having to look like a hoochie in her own video. She stood apart. But no longer. I think we've all learned what this "woman's worth"...NOTHING!!!

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Friday, July 2, 2010

A Cold Cup of Coffee: Heart vs Ego

This is a special edition of A Moment With Morris. This is part of an ongoing series I affectionately titled "A Cold Cup of Coffee". Bringing you real life without the sweeteners, a cold and sometimes bitter, but always necessary sip of reality. This time we're looking at a thing called "love"...or is it?

Often we put the label of love on things we do or feel, but does it belong there? How many of us get into relationships and become disconnected, then after it fails, we find ourselves wishing it was back or protesting our love? Usually after the other one has ended it or moved on. When we were in it, we wanted nothing but to be out, to be done with our partner, to be free. Now it's over, and we're heartbroken? Ha!

No we're you're not. During the course of the relationship we could visualize the happy dance we would do if they would just leave, and now we're drowning in our tears, with "No ordinary love" on repeat? The reality is, it's not love. It's not the loss of that special someone, our soul's the fact that they no longer desire us.

So often we try to link that pain or hurt to a lost love when really it's just a bruised ego. What do you mean you don't want "me"? We didn't care that the relationship failed, that's why we didn't call, come home, or stay faithful. It's just that sting of knowing that they don't want us. The nerve. After all we've done for them..?

It's ok. We want to justify that feeling with something a little less conceded, but if we're not going to honest with the public, let's at least be real with ourselves. No they don't want us...but we don't want them. Hell we even did that happy dance when they drove away.

Oh that ego, he's a s.o.b! We're all guilty of this, no one wants to be rejected. We've all had a job we couldn't stand, but nothing would sting more than to be fired the day before we were going to quit. Just try to keep that in mind. So before you grab the vodka and slip into a Sade coma...just remember the relationship as a whole, then stop! Hammer time!

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