Thursday, July 31, 2008

More on the Ludacris Contoversy

HIP HOP BREAKS FURTHER INTO THE POLITICAL FORUM: The world is ready for a change because Obama is here...

Ludacris's song "Obama is Here" caused an uproar in political blog forums from NPR to CBN's the Brody File

As for Miss Nina Parks:

Thank you Luda for stepping up and putting your current political beliefs out there. It's rare that Rapper's with in the mainstream will stand up and take a political stand in their music. Where I understand that expressing your political belief at dinner is unpolite and bad for digestion the air waves are a tool that we have in hip hop to reach our cultural mass. And if you are a rapper with no political beliefs then you aren't doing your part as an american citizen and you need to balance out your life.

Luda is right... "...The world is ready for change cause Obama is here..."

If people weren't ready for a new face for America then Obama wouldn't be in the running. His shear presents is testimony enough to the change in the American people. It's been a long time since English Protestants landed on Plymoth Rock trying to escape religious persecution and the monarchy. Since then America has established itself as an independent nation, developed it's own systematic government, had the slave trade using slave labor to build this nations industries for free, a civil war, womens lib, two world wars, vietnam, a civil rights movement, and now the oil wars. America has moved from fighting trying to build a nation where we are free to live the way we want to live to fighting to get more. All we have seen in the Bush Administration is a nation blinded by greed and gluttony and it reflects in it's people all the way down to the block boy. America obliterates it's competition and enemies by force. So the American people do the same thing in dealling with each other. America holds the celebrity in high regard just as long that celebrity perpetuates the illusion

The murder rate in Oakland is up 80% this year San Francisco is none the better. Last night's dinner conversation was my younger cousin (20) describing one of the most liberating nights of his life at a house party in San Jo that took an ugly turn when he found himself fleeing away from the party when gun shots broke out after someone had gotten stabbed.

This is normal conversation amongst people my age and demographic. Which is young urban adult of mixxed race.

Ludacris is an artist and apparently an effective business man as well as an active member in his community as well as an active member in a global community.

Something that I would like to aspire to with in my own career.

"The World is ready for change because Obamam is here..."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Time to take Action

I would like to thank everyone who has already reached out to me in support of my current project. I want it to be clear that my intentions are to give voice and assist in the healing process of communities traumatized but violence. United Players said it best "It takes a hood, to save a hood." Sharing the stories of lost loved ones has taught me so much about my life and the lives of others. I've started to collect stories and have found it such and amazing experience. It has help to heal and gain more prospective. I will keep everyone up dated as myself and the other photographers that have joined me in this project make further developments.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Take the Pledge.

Hey,Right now the murder rate in Oakland is over twice what it was last year. 80% of murders in the Bay Area are folks under 28. Young people are struggling to find real opportunities and hope.Even though it's pretty grim out there, I just signed the "Silence the Violence Pledge," and and joined the movement for real solutions for violence in Oakland.

Silence the Violence: 1 - Holds exclusive├Őconcerts and parties to create more positive recreation in Oakland.2 - Brings together community members to for peace vigils and other events.

3 - Is launching a new CD featuring Bay Area legends like Mistah FAB and Goapele.

4 - Helped win a community based mediation program in Oakland and fights for better programs and more recreational opportunities for youth.I hope you'll sign on too and part of the solution.

5 - Nina Parks just took the plegde. And is working on a new project. I'm working on a new project. In regard to the state of violence with in our communities. I would like to do a portrait series and a collection of stories of the friends and family left behind by those who have been lost to violence.If you have a friend or family member who you've put on a memorial tee please share your story with me at ninaparksphotography@gmail.com.

Although we need to silence the violence, we do not need to stay silent about violence. Please share your stories, and share the story of your lost loved one/s. It's a healling process for the community.

I would love if you got down with me on this project. I would love it to be a gallery and try to pitch it as a book or even if it's possible to get video that would be dope to collect interviews. Get at me and let me know what you think. It's going to be a long and hard project so it;s not for the light hearted. Forward this message to any photographers you know that might want to get down and to any person you know that might want to participate..

With Respect,Leah "Nina Parks" Weitz P.S. If any of you have blogs can you please post the message on your blogs. It's time get this project off the ground

Check it out:http://www.bayareasilencetheviolence.org/ Thanks! Respect

Saturday, July 19, 2008

QUEEN'S CHESS PART II: LIVING OUT THEIR DREAMS

Check out Guerilla Busfare T.V. at www.guerillabusfare.com. It's a blog worth subscribing to. And Big ups to my Bestfriend Hopie Spitshard. It's our year! LHM FOR LIFE! "Married to the Hustle."

Friday, July 18, 2008

HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS 24% IN THE BAY AREA!

(this photo taken from austinevan )
I'M FUCKEN LIVID! I've made it a point to start my day reading the local paper just so I stay up on current events. Yesterday's front page story in the SF Chronicle about the rate of high school students lit a fire under my ass and I will not stay silent on this subject.

Here's where it started to make my blood boil:

"You can't fix the problem if you don't know what it is," said Alison McDonald, a top administrator who oversees 13 high schools in Oakland, where the state just estimated the dropout rate is 37 percent, not 27 percent as had been believed. "It's a bit heartbreaking. The data is harsh - but it really increases our sense of urgency."

What the fuck! Alison McDonald was poorly quoted... initially I was pissed that she would say that "You can't fix a problem if you don't know what it is." She's been an administrator for over 13 years! But after watching this video of McDonald speaking to Oakland Unified School District... I see that she does have an idea of what's wrong and it was the Chonicles doing.

As for Nina Parks... I was raised in the Bay Area public school system until I was 16 and I was a severe truant and might as well have been a drop out at 15. Until I was sent to boarding school. But in 1999 and 2000 during the campaigns against Prop 21 (remember these days when we tried to organize with in our communities) I moved into awareness with youth organizations such as Third Eye Movement, and H.O.M.I.E which have long since receded into almost non existance. Third Eye Movement was a great organization it was of mixxed culture and ethnicity organizing for the rights of all urban youth despite color or creed.

The problem my friends at least from what I've seen and experinced in the 24 years of living...is this to start:

1. The California administration does not understand the ethnic, immigrant, "NEW AMERICAN" exprience they do not understand struggle they do not understand hunger pains, they do not understand the lack of child care, because, they can afford to pay a nanny or a tutor while they are working or too busy with their own life to deal with their own kids. The people running the State are far removed from the struggle of those who start in the "have not."

At the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, which has worked with school districts for years and earned a reputation for keeping boys and girls from dropping out and getting them into college, operations manager Andre Aikins says schools need to go beyond academics. "A lot of kids are dealing with issues far beyond their control - Mom's on drugs, Pop's in the penitentiary, and now the grandparents are on drugs," he said. "A lot of kids have very little parenting going on." --Chronicle

2. Thank you Andre Aikins for addressing the fact that the kids that make up the state school systems have many factors in their home life that make it even more difficult to learn in a "traditional" educational system. The state needs to recognize and address the social experience of it's inhabitants in order to educate them and make their education relevant.

And the fact that parents aren't involved enough in their childs education and assume the resposiblity to the schools and neglect their responsiblity of teaching their kids something about survival, even if it means teaching their kids not to be like themselves. PARENTS, YOU HAD THE KIDS THEY'RE ASSIMILATION INTO SOCIETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBLITY. SCHOOLS ARE THERE TO EDUCATE ABOUT THE SOCIETY, UNFORTUNATELY THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLASS ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN. SO TEACH YOUR CHILD CULTURE IF YOU HAVE NO CULTURE THEN LOOK FOR ONE.

3.It's hard to feel like you can get out of the life that your living when your home environment is crazy. But.... Kids, as much as I would love to tell you that you have the luxury of being kids and unaware of the cruelty and harshness of the world that we live in, the reality of the situation for many youth urban or suburban, we have seen or experinced death and violence, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse in some way. And it is not to be glorified!!!! IT IS NOT COOL, FRESH OR DOPE. IT IS NOT OK TO TAKE THE LIFE OF ANOTHER YOUTH. WE DO NOT LIVE IN RIO DE JENERO, WE DO NOT LIVE IN UGANDA, WE DO NOT LIVE IN VIETNAM. WE HAVE OTHER OPTIONS AND CHOICES THAT KIDS IN THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD WILL NEVER HAVE AND EVEN IF OUR OPTIONS NEED IMPROVEMENT THEY ARE STILL OPTIONS.

4. American society golrifies the gangster the mobster the ones who take what they want and give nothing back, pirates. So what asperations do you think the youth will have? It's not to be a super hero. YOU WANNA BE A GANGSTER? BE A REBEL WITH A CAUSE. YOU ARE POWERFUL YOU ARE ABLE YOU CAN MAKE ALL THE WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. YOU ARE NOT STUPID YOU ARE YOUNG AND ONLY WITH TIME AND GROWING PAINS WILL YOU EARN AND GAIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO LIVE AND NOT JUST SURVIVE.

"They have to change the mind-set of students to value education," Aikins said. "Right now, the way the system is designed - how can I say it - the kids don't see the value and relevancy of what schools are in place to do for them."

5. There is a lack of doingness in our education system. Kids take in so much all the time and school doesn't encourage an out put. you just sit and listen. How is that increasing the responsib;ity or the owership of what the kids are learning. There are no more auto shop classes, sewing classes, music classes, art classes, theater classes, cooking classes, social and anthropological classes, no funding for hands on learning.

WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT KIDS TO DO WHEN THEY ARE OUT OF SCHOOL WHEN THEY DO NOTHING IN SCHOOL?

6. There is a lack of resources with in school and community to deal with the trauma that are youth are faced with on the daily. No Ethics and Morals studies and dialouge.

.

7. There are not enough organized after school activities. You want kids to learn organization show them organized things.

So FUCK THE BULLSHIT! SOME PROBLEMS ARE OBVIOUS. I'm not done yet! This is the begining of much more to come. I've got some research to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nina Parks's Life in Black and White: Tattoo America

A few months back I started a project having to do with, the experiences of individuals born of mixxed race. This was the first of many shots to come. MC Krush eL is half-White half- Filipino. Yesterday I accompanied him to Skull & Sword tattoo to get the first of two eagles tattooed on his chest by Norm. This first eagle is a traditional American Eagle symbolizing one half of his experience. When asked why and eagle Krush simply explained that each of his halfs, have an eagle as their bird, both strong, swift and the King of their skies. All elements that he wants to perpetuate in his own life. As for myself I learned that even though the two eagles come from different regions of the world they still mean the same thing to the people that recognize the symbol. Stay tuned for the next trip to get the Filipino Eagle tatted on the left side of his chest. (Check out the Sister story here)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PROGRESS BABY!

My girl Lea forwarded this to me earlier today and I thought I'd share it with all of you wonderful readers.
Subject: Filipina is senior adviser to Obama
Pinay is senior adviser to Obama
By MAR-VIC CAGURANGAN
Special to BusinessMirror
HAGATNA, Guam - If Barack Obama becomes the US president, America's national policies would somehow be influenced by a Filipino: Charmaine Manansala, who has been selected as a senior adviser to the Democratic party candidate.
Manansala is now the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Vote director for the Obama campaign.
"The Obama campaign acknowledges the extraordinary contributions of the nearly 13 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who have helped build a strong and vibrant America," Manansala stated in her message to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Network.
"We realize that despite the growth of our community, there are challenges [that] we still face. For increasing numbers of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders [AAPI], the American dream is in danger of slipping away," said Manansala, who served as policy adviser and political strategist for then-Guam gubernatorial candidate Robert Underwood in 2006.
"As president, Senator Obama will work with the AAPI community to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable and portable health insurance that will also reduce the linguistic and cultural barriers that limit access to our medical system," she added.
Manansala was born in Manila. Her family moved to Orange County in Los Angeles in 1983 to join her grandparents.
She went to Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in biochemistry. She earned her master's degree in public health at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Manansala has joined the league of policy analysts and political strategists in the nation's capital. In 2007, she was on the Filipino Women's Network's list of 100 Most Influential Filipinas. In 2001, she was honored by PoliticalCircus.com, as one of the "Top 30 Under 30," which recognizes the most influential Asian-Pacific Americans 30 years and younger in the US.
Prior to her selection as AAPI vote director, Manansala, now based in New Mexico, was the state director for the New Mexico Blue Team, where she was in charge of developing a state plan for political organizers advancing Obama's candidacy.
Manansala lived in Guam from 2005 to 2006 to lead the campaign strategy for Underwood.
Before her stint in Guam, Manansala served as policy adviser for Speaker Nancy Pelosi from 2003 to 2005.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Diamond Dame in Stores Tomorrow

Ok ladies and gents, It's about that time! My first solo album, The Diamond Dame, drops TOMORROW, JULY 8th! You can cop The Diamond Dame at Ameoba and Rasputin! Coming soon, iTunes & CDBaby! Also, we have various other Bay Area spots you can hit up for the CD... as well as all Hopie show! The Diamond Dame is 13 original tracks written by yours truly and produced by the man himself, 6Fingers! The Diamond Dame features Del the Funky Homosapien, Bambu (Native Guns), Topkat, EyeASage, Kid Static and Smigg Dirtee! BUY YOUR ALBUM TOMORROW! Thanks to everyone for their overwhelming support. This project would not have been possible without the constant support from my friends, family and fans. Love always, HOPIE SPITSHARD