Monday, June 30, 2008

High Lights: Pista Sa Nayon

Nump Trump

Hopie Spitshard & Krush El

Sunday June 29th 2008, Vallejo CA Pista Sa Nayon Pista was cracken for the most part, friends, family and festivity. The half packed gymnasium at Jessie Bethal High School was half Filipino community elders and their families half high school students and fans of the pseudo celebrity team. The game was close but anti-climatic thanks to the anouncers who thought that they were Lil Jon and Michael Buffer. The Pista All Stars won... There was little to know hype made about the performances so Hopie Spitshard and Krush Els and Charlie Darker, rocked their set to a gym that was quickly dwindling in numbers. But they still gave it 100%. True Heart for the cause... more photos to come...

Friday, June 27, 2008

In response to D2S's: Word on the Street: How the Media has Effected Hip Hop Part 1

Distortion 2 Static, a public television show created a short segment called, "Word on the Street," which asks people what their opinions are on issues surrounding the state of our communities in the city. Yesterday evening inside the Women's Building on 18th St. in San Francisco, a handful of community members and a panel made up of a morning radio talk show host/ Chuy Gomez from 106.1 Kmel, an advocate for social change/ Silence the violence director Nichole Lee for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a Journalist/(sorry mama I didn't catch your name...but she writes for various Bay Area publications and has written a few books), and SF State Teacher and Industry veteran Anthony Marshall( with two L's) continued the dialogs and began to scratch the surface of the issues that surround Hip Hop Culture. Honestly it was hefty topic to try to cover and as Chuy stated the people that could actually benefit from the discussion weren't in attendance. I'm going to attempt to give you the readers a breakdown of what the panel had to say and then... add my 2 cents. Topic #1: The adaption of "Hip Hop" or "Black" vernacular in popular culture. In other words, How do you feel about white people saying words like "bling," "you go girl," and "off the hook," in there speech. Everyone on the panel basically agreed that "hood" derived words used in a condescending way is rude and ignorant, but with the growth of public interest in Hip Hop and ready resources, it was something that was bound to happen, giving that even the American Heritage Dictionary and Websters have added Bling and Bootylicious to their definitions. As for myself...I believe that innovation and creativity stem from struggle and discourse, and since the majority of folks who are drawn to the energy of hip hop culture belong to a demographic that is drowning in struggle, then it's only natural that they come up with creative vernacular that reflect their experience and how they relate to the environment around them. And if and when the words hit the main stream then let them have it and create new ones, Just make sure they know where and why the word was derived, that way when it's written down in the books you have a true record of history.

Topic #2: Violence in Media and in Hip Hop

Nicole Lee, director of Silence the Violence, shared her most recent experience with violence and media. She spoke on how last Wednesday's Bay wide Silence the Violence Peace marches received some bad press when two 14 year old boys started to fight on the other end of the park from where they were holding their event in Oakland. The news sold it as a violent out break at a peace march. That although it held truth, it wasn't the main point of the event and was actually and exaple of why their program needs more community and media support.

Other panelist agreed that the problems of violence in American society supersede that of Hip Hop. Chuy touched on the mind state of the parents and community, telling their kids that they better not be no punks. Creating the soldier and then acting shocked when they act according to their socialization. They briefly mentioned, coping with trauma and the lack of resources with in the community to assist with mental and emotional health. And one of the ways to cope is to go numb. The lack of options for kids after school was also brought up.

The way I see it Media reports violence in order to promote fear with in the people. They do not inform about what is happening or make us aware of our ability to make a difference, the media just over sensationalizes violence and makes us all feel like victims. I believe that the people need to pull their heads out of their ass and be the change that they want to see. I do not believe that musicians and artist should be censored but I do believe that Hip Hop icons shouldn't glorify violence.

I've lost friends to violence, accidents, drugs, and to their own inability to cope with life. I've experinced and delivered abused. I've gone numb and due to some recent epiphanies, now I feel like I feel everything and when I started to feel again I didn't know how to place past experiences. I pushed many events to the side, saying that "it is what it is..." Or like Frank Sinatra said, "That's Life," without even dealling with any of my own feeling, not anger, not sadness, not confusion nothing... I just...depression and then trying to keep living on with my life as if they were all still here.

I believe that after experiencing violence there is a need for healling, there is a need to come to terms with death and life, all of which are difficult and complex topics to get a young person to understand especially when we are all still learning what it all means.

I think think:

The lack of strong positive male and female role models,

The lack of educational funding

Lack of after school activities

The Class divide and the stuggle for virtical motion for minorities in the job field

Lack of racial and cultural understanding

Bad Parenting

Too much sugar (Twinkies made me do it)

all contribute greatly to the state of violence, I believe that it doesn't help that violence and Hip Hop have been so closely related. Change needs to be made with out

I believe that with violence comes discipline and responsiblity (just as any power does), but there is a time and place and code of honor.

So this is a lot to bite chew and swallow. I'll leave the other two topics for tomorrow. Stay tuned for Topics #3 Technology and it's effects on Hip Hop Culture and #4 Is their hope for women in Hip Hop?

(Please feel free to add your 2 cents or more)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tribute to the Greats

This was amazing this is basically everything that he has learned and what he has become by the end of his life. His whole life summed up in 3:44. Beautiful... One of the Great Masters of his art.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Queens Chess Part I: The Diamond Dame

24 year old, Bay Area raised, Filipina , Hopie Spitzhard is the Diamond Dame. The oldest of two girls Hopie has strove to be a role model for her younger sister, and now with the release of her debut solo album "The Diamond Dame," she has the chance to be the witty big sister voice of wisdom that Hip-Hop has been missing these past few years.

Here are a few of my personal favorite songs from the album. Super Nova-Featuring EyeAsage is one of the hot performance tracks from the album, Six Finger's "bouncing '20's" beat creates a comical back drop, while Hopie Spitta and EyeAsage's witticism and smooth rhyme schemes speak on over coming sexism in the industry.

Hopie Smile- Is a tribute to her parents, who should know that their own struggles were not in vein. This song exhibits her talent as a song writer, M.C and songstress.

Check out more of her songs go to And vote for her at. Photobucket The next big thing on the Hopie Spitz Hard calender:
Jun 29 2008 6:00P
Pista Sa Nayon Celebrity BBall Tournament Vallejo, California
Jul 5 2008 1:00P
ALBUM RELEASE PARTY- Streets of Gold @ Club Cocomo’s San Francisco, California
Jul 5 2008 10:00P
ALBUM RELEASE PARTY @ The Cellar San Francisco, California
Jul 17 2008 10:00P
ALBUM RELEASE PARTY @ Etiquette Lounge San Francisco, California
The show at Pista Sa Nayon is highly anticipated. Hopie recently joined forces with Krush L and Charlie Darker (whose aliases are both derived from prolific Jazz musicians), these three masterminds have been cooking up something special for ya'll but you have to go to Pista to see their on stage premiere. Here are some shots from rehearsal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nina Parks: Life in Black and White, but I Dream in Color: Quest for Inspiration

2007 sent me into a dream world that I forgot existed; I found my creativity again. But like all things in life nothing last forever and I came hurtling down off cloud 9 just as quickly as I rose. Reality settled back in, bills, rent, feeling life's strains, and my creative spark had seemed to be waining. Looking back at what I shot with in the last 6 months everything looked the same to me.

Shots of the city while walking or busing it to or from work.

Then... it happened, just another night out in The City. Where people can't control their liquor and or emotions, and as a result my camera lens died in a tragic yet valiant attempt at capturing city night life. Before it went black.
So I was forced to put down the camera for a while. Photography is a at times... naw it's always an expensive pursuit. But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. SF is beautiful....but that's also the trap.

So, in the middle of May I hopped on a plane (it just so happened that my vacation came at the best possible time) and got the f*ck out of dodge for awhile. Costa Rica: Pura Vida : Pure Life (shot with my man's point and shoot) Meet Zorro

It's hard to escape and I'm well aware that not everyone has the opportunity to go anywhere, but if you find an opportunity remove yourself from your situation or environment please do. It may give you new inspiration to live life.

Monday, June 16, 2008


HELLO EVERONE! So let me introduce myself I am Nina Parks a photographer/journalist/artist/designer/human and what ever else I can get my little fingers into.

I'm looking for people born of mixxed race backrounds or individuals that grew up in a multi or bi cultural house hold. I would like to do a series of short interviews accompanied by a portrait. I'm looking for the stories of the multi-cultural experience (as I am half-Philipino half White) more than I'm looking for professional models. This is not a payed project but I will give you a copy of your portrait.I'm hoping to eventually do a gallery when it is all done. If you are intrested and want to share your experience or know of anyone who might be intrested please contact me at I Hope to hear back from you soon.

Respect,Nina Parks

"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Ghandi

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Reason We Need to Support Music and Dance Programs for Youth

Daddy Hunger

The past few years have been full of growing pains and life epiphanies and some things in life didn't make sense to me until I got a little bit older, that's why patience is a virtue. Lately... I've been giving a lot of thought to the things in this life that have help to shape the person that I was, and in reflection, a lot of the conclusions that I made about life before were only half truths, or even false truths (a reality created by a person in order to create a conclusion for themselves), it's like the lights were turned on at a movie set, or revealing the Great Wizard of oz was really just a man.

For many years I hated my father, and with many good reasons, my parents were divorced when I was 9 and it wasn't until I was 18 that I started looking at my father like he was part of my family and part of myself. But I also came to realize that my father wasn't a bad person he was just human. But, many things that my dad should have been there for in my life he wasn't, for my Freshman winter Ball in High School a local drug dealer paid for my pictures cause there just wasn't money for mom never knew that I just told her one of the other girls paid for it. My martial arts instructor Mr. Morrison gave me my foundation for discipline and taught me how to stand up and carry myself with respect. I thought my pops was a chump and had no good qualities until now, where I've come to value his advice on matters of business and finance and the passion for knowledge.

As a female I needed a strong male influence, and when it wasn't there I was hungry for it and searched it out other places. Even looking to the music I listened to and the movies that I watched, gravitating toward the archetypes that exhibited some type of code of honor and loyalty. I suppose it was the aspect of my life that was with out. I can only imagine what it would be like for a young man to "grow up" with out that influence around. Last year my homegirl So So Steph and I went to watch a documentary called "Daddy Hunger," at the community art center in the Fillmore run by London Breed who shared her story in the documentary. The film interviews people such as Fillmore Slim, JT the Bigga Figga, the creator of the film Ray Upchurch as well as a many others. It focuses on the African American community but the hunger for strong male role models is colorless. Happy Poppas Day! Peep out the Website

Friday, June 13, 2008

Big Things to Come

Don't hate congratulate. I've been doing a lot of reflecting with in the past year and a half. And I realize that in my younger years I was petty and unaware of how to handle my own short comings (getting butt hurt over criticism instead of taking into consideration if the critics were valid in their opinion or if there was any truth in the statements being made). I looked down on many of my female peers because their actions were petty, close minded, two faced, or superficial. Not to say that I was an angel my self but something always told me that people who exhibit those trait are individuals you should cut out of your life quick. Like Chazz Palminteri said in "A Bronx Tale," "Trouble is like a cancer, you gotta cut it out before it spreads." So as a youth I tried to filter the good, bad and the ugly. My best-friends Kae (Hopie Spits Hard), Ellen, and Sonia are probably the only female friends that I still talk to from my adolescent and teenage years. I worked with female that were caddy and made it difficult to accomplish goals. So I avoided making female friends, until I realized that just having no friends or just guy friends wasn't a balance working situation either. Until I met these wonderful and inspirational women that are Married to there Hustle. Keep doing Ya'll thing Ladies!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lost Ones

(photo taken from Pretty Blacks Myspace)

Aspiring rapper slain in East Oakland


OAKLAND — A 25-year-old San Leandro man who police were told was a promising rapper was shot to death Friday night at an East Oakland apartment complex.

Ayoola Matthew Odumuyiwa, who police were told performed under the name Pretty Black, was found with multiple gunshot wounds about 9:44 p.m. Friday in an apartment complex in the 2600 block of Alvingroom Court, off MacArthur Boulevard not far from Castlemont High School.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sgt. John Parkinson said Saturday that Odumuyiwa had relatives who lived in the complex. He said police are not sure how long he had been there or why he was shot. No arrests had been made.

Parkinson said police were told by relatives and friends that Odumuyiwa had appeared in some rap videos and had made some CDs.

The killing was Oakland's 56th homicide of the year. Last year at this time there were 40 homicides.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Anyone with information can call police at 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 777-8572 or 777-3211.

My condolences go out to Black's Family and Friends. From my own experience death has a place as a muse for the living, now ya'll have to live twice as long and accomplish twice as much if not more than Black had in his short but memorable time here on this earth. Life is a crap shoot you never know when your luck is going to run out. Time is precious. And one thing that you can't get more of, spend it wisely. Rhyme in Paridise. Pretty Black. Also R.I.P Puma Rest in Paradise. Tu Pac - Life Goes -

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Living at the Edge


Last night while catching up with my home boy Heat, he informed me of a tragic situation at the youth facility that he works for. Edgewood, a "residential treatment program" (better known as a group home) that assists at-risk and mentally ill youth, may be forced to close it's doors to and relocate residents that are from San Francisco, moving them further away from their families and community.

Edgewood houses and acts as a surrogate parent to children of sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse, children born with mental and learning disabilities, as well as youth that have behavioral problems and require more attention than the established learning institutions are able of providing. Remembering his child hood growing up as a urban youth in San Francisco , Heat sees himself in his charges and has discovered a new passion to assist kids that find themselves in abnormal living situation. Edgewood tries to provide the stable familial environment that the youth lack. Heat explained that not all of the children living at Edgewood are orphaned some of the students have family near by that are unable to handle them at home. With the budget cuts , and the removal of these San Francisco residents it will make it even more difficult to build strong foundation between parents and children. For more information and how you can help please check out the Edgewood organization here at