Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The First Talking Shop With Nina Parks on

Hip hop is a 38-year-old cultural institution with its roots firmly planted in South Bronx, initially filling a void left in the spirit of the community after the creation of the Cross Bronx Expressway in 1971. Imagine if San Francisco wanted to build an expressway from City Hall to Golden Gate Park. It would plow through Hayes Valley, Fillmore and some of the Richmond district, dividing the communities further, lowering property value, driving out businesses and home owners, leaving only an impoverished community behind. Hip hops' creation in the New York borough’s despair innovated a new approach to life, creating a new style and swagger in the process. Now 38 years later, it has extended itself into American business, with Russell Simmons and Diddy at the forefront, dealing in music, fashion, and lifestyle, evolving hip hop from the street corner to a house on the hill.

As a child Anthony Marshall found inspiration in the rap game. Seeing individuals like Andre Harrell, Russell Simmons and Puffy pushed him to have big dreams as well, aspiring to be the youngest entrepreneur in the music industry. In 1991, when Ant was 15, he and his friend Danny Castro founded the now legendary Lyricist Lounge. Starting in a little loft space on the Lower East side of Manhattan, a young Ant Marshall and his partner unknowingly took the first steps to achieving their dreams. Seventeen years later, Ant reflects on what that experience meant to him. "Something happens when you give people space. If people don't have space, they don't have anywhere to go to create. Someone gave us a space and we did something with it, now you fast forward and we're still in it," he says.

Ant has now moved west, working as a host and producer for Current TV while teaching a class, The Art and Business of Hip-Hop, at San Francisco State University. I was able to sit down with this busy man and the fellas at West Side Cuts in the Fillmore to discuss the progress and state of hip hop as a business.

Check out the interview at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beezie Tendencies: Part I

According to the Urban Dictionary

Beezie- is a word meaning b*tch made popular by Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks mostly used in the Bay Area and Northern California.

Over the past 2 months I've been been researching Carl G. Jung's theory on the human psyche, his studies on symbolism, dreams mythology and character archetypes seem to fill in the holes in Freud's analysis of the human mind. Acknowledging the existence of a symbolic conciseness that links us all. I'm currently reading a book called "The Feminine in Fairy Tales" written by Marie Von Franz, one of Jungs col luges who's writing on " Analytical psychology, most notably on fairy tales as they relate to Archetypal or Depth Psychology, most specifically by amplification of the themes and characters," has presented a new way of viewing the mystery that is the human mind. Especially the great complexity of the feminine mind. Which according to Von Franz has been dormit for hundreds of years and has recently woken up with in the past 60 years or so. Think of all the fairy tales that we have been told about the damsel who gets locked away in the tower or the dame who is put under a spell and falls into a deep slumber.

I'm only 4 chapters into the book, but I wanted to share some very "eye" opening tid bits from my studies so far.

I. The Existence of the "anima" and "animus"

From what I've come to understand the anima is a mans feminine alter ego that is influenced by the women that are in a mans life and is what makes up his vision of what a women is suppose to be like.(both positive and negative.) The animus is a women's masculine alter ego (I'll discuss this in another blog entry) .

And in the same way that women influence a mans anima, the anima also influences a women. Some women will adapt to a mans anima and in doing so, they become conscious themselves only as "...mirrors of the man's reaction.Their Lover at the time will tell them they are wonderful, but if there is no man around they feel as if they were nobody." According to Von Franz theory "It is the man's reaction that make them aware of their feminine personality.

Jungians refer to this character as the "Anima Women" in our culture (Bay Area Hip Hop) we call this women a Beezie.

We deal with this personality characteristic everyday and see it in it's entire manifestation in the hyper sexualized eye candy found in music videos, at car shows and when we step out to paint the town. And many of us are very guilty especially as a youth in America of falling into this category when we first start exploring romantic relationships with those of the opposite sex.

As mentioned earlier real women effect a man's anima, most commonly a man's anima has many characteristics of his mother since she is the first experience he will have of a women. A mans anima will also influence his connection to his own emotions. According to Von Franz a women can have a transforming effect on a man's anima,

"If she can stand for her human rights with out animus, and if she has a good relationship with the man she loves , she can tell him things about feminine psychology which will help him to differentiate his feelings...,women in general will have a strong influence in forming and building up a man's relationship with his eros function."

In other words: Ladies realize your capabilities and your inner powers. The more that you know and understand about yourself as a person and as a women you will have the control over what the views men have on femininity in our culture. Ask yourself... Am I a Beezie? do I have Beezie tendencies? (once again the new Nina Parks definition of the word beezie is a female who is only aware of her"self" through the attention and reactions that she gets from the opposite sex.) And if yes then look deeper into yourself and take control of your "true self."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Andrea Zamora

It's been a while since I did a photo shoot so today I decided to shoot my girl Andrea Zamora. A young up and coming performing artist form the Bay Area.
"Wrestling with Darkness" Be the light in the dark.-Nina Parks
All images are the property of Miss Leah Weitz.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keynote Message from Paulo Coelho for the Meeting on Youth@the Crossroads - a future without violent radicalization

"I’m writing this text today because I feel this is my way of acting in this world, of fighting against the violence."

When I was invited by the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Ko├»chiro Matsuura, to write about the radicalization of today’s Youth for the UNESCO Meeting under the high patronage of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Bahrain, I felt a great deal of responsibility and, I will not hide it, grief.

Even before sitting at my desk to write this text, sad images started to crowd my mind. I could see an army of children, bare foot, walking down a dusty path that would lead them to their certain death. I could see some of them actually smiling, holding carelessly their light AK-47s, and heading towards war.

In a blink I would be transported from the reality of children soldiers in Sierra Leone or Uganda to the landmines of Angola. I remember once reading about children being used as human shields and sent by adults to “un-mine” mined fields.

But I don’t even need to go as far as Africa to have a clear picture of abandoned youths – I can walk in the streets of my city Rio de Janeiro and see this reality. How many countless times did I see children begging for food, sleeping on the sidewalk, having nothing besides each other bodies to protect themselves from the cold night breeze?

But let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that these abandoned youths are only to be found in Africa or Latin America. Recently the cover of Time Magazine was dedicated to the increase threat that youngsters represent to adults in the UK. You could see their empty eyes against the backdrop of poor neighborhoods, having no prospect in front of them, no dreams to aspire to, no goals, basically, no way out of the cycle of violence.

When I look back in time – I can see children being used in coal mines in 19th century Europe, slaves in colonial houses, being enrolled in II world war … I see children, across all ages, being used as objects, human shields, slaves, weapons.

These extreme examples of a destitute youth – of abandoned children that unfortunately have known only violence – are, as you well know, not isolated pieces of a nightmare. This violence has been with us for centuries now and the ranks of poverty and violence keep on rising. For instance, Human Rights Watch estimates the number of children soldiers in the world at around 300 000 and this number will continue to grow with the increased instability of Asian and Africans countries.

Beyond the reality of open war, we still see children being used as work force – almost as slaves. In Asia, for instance, the number of children forced to work is around 120 Million according to the International Labour Organization.

The unbalance of the world, represented by the fate of our youth can also be seen in the following: in one part of the world we see the remnants of slavery and in the other part of the globe, in the “rich nations” - youths are the first ones to be touched by unemployment and precarious work conditions.

Wars, forced work, unemployment – these are the different facets of the same recurring problems: carelessness, indifference and greed.

When we see a child baring a gun, we know that we are in front of the consequence of a bigger problem – not at the root. Indeed, how can we see these youths as responsible of their actions? The choice was not made by them – but for them, or better said, against them.

I keep on seeing these images and the feeling of powerlessness grips me. What can one do against a rising number of children soldiers? Of children slaves?

It seems so overwhelming to be face to face with these numbers, these nightmarish realities that very quickly we seem to lose sight of the light, of faith in the world. And yet, from this turmoil a very simple story comes back to me.

It’s about a father reading a magazine and his child bothering him with constant pleas for attention. The father exasperated by the hyperactive child decides to give something for the child to do and leave him alone. He decides then to rip a page of the magazine in which there was a map of the world. He then rips the page in many pieces and gives it to the child to sort it back again. He knew that the child, being too small and having no knowledge of geography, would be incapable of solving this puzzle quickly and he could already anticipate in delight the quiet moment ahead of him. Yet, 5 minutes later, the child comes back with the recomposed Mapa mundi. The father, impressed by the feat of the child asks him:

- But how did you manage to do this so quickly?

To which the child answers:

- I saw the face of a man and had only to put the pieces back again.

His father took the page off the hands of his son and turned the page – behind the world, rested the face of a man.

We forget too often that the world is ourselves and the children our future.

This man delicately put together by the hands of a child, brought back from the chaos of the world by innocent hands, needs to act. This Man is you and I and the world in each of us.

I’m writing this text today because I feel this is my way of acting in this world, of fighting against the violence.

Therefore, today my pen writes for these children that are in dire need of a chance.

A chance to have a real choice.

A chance to step out of the cycle of brutality and exploitation.

But in order for them to be able to chose, we need first to look at the root of the problem – and this problem is ourselves and our lack of vision.

What I propose to you today is this: we need to give ourselves a chance. We need to choose to act in favor of the world’s youths, using our resources and, above all, placing our faith in our future.

The reason for this is as simple as putting together the face of a Man in a magazine – because it is only through the children, through the youth, that we will be able to recompose ourselves, to recompose the World.

Author(s): © Paulo Coelho for UNESCO 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Vapors

I was recently took a position as a production assistant for a mini documentary on Big Daddy Kane AKA the Smooth Operator. And in the midst of brushing up on my BDK trivia, I stumbled across Biz Markie's 1988 song the "Vapors," redone by Snoop Dogg in the 90's on the other side of the country going to show that some things never change.

Food for thought: For folks who are out there trying to make it, don't get discouraged, keep pushing and remember who supported you on the way up. But sometimes the people that don't help you push you to help yourself. Just as long as you're not the one with the vapors.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

R.I.P Bernie Mac

If you haven't noticed yet I love standup comedy. For me it's the most realistic and honest form of social commentary of our time. Uncensored, unrated, unrated. We've recently lost a great presence in the entertainment industry, Mr. Bernie Mac, born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, died at the age of 50, from complications from pneumonia.

I remember seeing Bernie Mac on Kings of Comedy, and thinking... "That one bad mutha f*cker." But I don't think I really understood his contribution to our culture until I took the Sex and Family class at City College of SF with Art Nishimura. Art worked "The Bernie Mac Show" into his cirriculum, as and example to the "New American Experience"(or so I call it), addressing issues such as drug abuse, surrogate parenting, family values, and several differents studies on learning how to except, work with and raise children that have different personalities. Bernie Mac was cut from a different cloth earning himself a position as a cultural a icon and a Peabody Award. You will be missed but your legacy lives on.

"I came from a place where there wasn't a lot of joy," Mac told the AP in 2001. "I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn't a lot of things to laugh about."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nina Parks's Life in Black and White: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

For my cousin Mark the ball parks is on of the closest things to heaven on earth. The fresh cut grass, the smell of hot dogs and the soothing sound of ball parks chants and cheers coming from the bleachers ( which is one of the only way to experience a baseball game, unless you have seats behind home plate.) To me... I head straight for the Garlic Fries and $7 Heineken (Yikes! but well worth the entire experience. Mark and his friend Phil have been coaching San Bruno's Jr. Giant's team since they were 15 years old, now going into his 20's Mark has come to realize what a huge role the game and the kids play in his life. Here are some high lites from Monday nights game.

Spreading the Good Life... August 15 Come out and Support

WWW. MYSPACE. COM/GOODCAUSE If you've ever wanted to give back to your community AND get a lil somethin' for yourself... You could win: diamond earrings, 6 Flags tickets, clothing, gift certificates, A's tickets & more! We make it EASY!! Your $20 (or more) donation gets you in for a night of music & fashion. Then place your bid at the silent auction & you just might go home with that GGI diamond encrusted watch you had your eye on.... Still not convinced? Well the first 100 guests receive GOODie bags filled by our sponsors. And don't forget about the talented performances by the sultry songstress Netta Brielle (Def Jam Mega Star Search Winner), the multi-talented musician Kev Choice (Best of the East Bay 2008)& the souful hip hop head Boondox! That's right ladies: get those dresses ready & gents: it's time to get suited. Oh yeah & of course your donation is tax deductible (just save this 501c3# 94-3252009 & the amount you donate for your taxes). So, come on, do something GOOD.... Our goal is to raise $45000 total for these 3 non-profit organizations: Based in Oakland, CA The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is a strategy and action center. MOTTO: "Working for JUSTICE in the system, OPPORTUNITY in our cities & PEACE in our streets. " Based in East Oakland, Ca Youth UpRising is a state of the art building that offers a wide range of free programs and services that develop youth leadership in order to transform the community. Based in San Francisco, Ca Visions of la Moda is a free high fashion, hands-on youth program. MOTTO: "Invest in today's youth for tomorrow's success" Go to going. com/GOODcause to purchase presale tickets & check back here as we are still adding sponsors. Platinum Sponsors Grown & Sexy Inc JE Media Group Oakland Box Theater Historic Sweet's Ballroom Beautiful Hustle Inc BayUp Tv B.L.A.C.K.M.A.N. Ent Inc Vixxen Ent KMEL 51OAK 360 Fashion Group DJ Backside Lady Ray of KMEL Kev Choice Netta Brielle Boondox Golden Mean Music Urban Vintage Style Management Gold Sponsors Deshawn Mitchell Presents Stunna Beverages Play Area Codes Seductive Ent Chris Rachal Presents E Money Presents D&S Ent Wild Seed Presents Bay Area Breedz DJ Defilade H&H Graphics Oaklandish Marketing Brings Results KMEL & BayUp TV's D.C. SBC DJ's Johnny Hollywood SBC DJ's Us Gurlz Ent Duke Jr. Locke & Key Ent JJ PR Personal Touch STASH Magazine Silver Sponsors Phatcat Photography Proshot Studio C&H Sugar Essential Soles Retail Therap-e itunes Pandora Radio Bakesale Betty Meezy Art Queen B Chronicles Promotions Xpress Sponsors Donating to Silent Auction Grown & Sexy Clothing Oakland A's 6 Flags Discovery Kingdom Beauty & Attitude Lingerie The Cheesecake Factory GGI: Fine Quality Timepieces Effie's Heart Pink Lemonaid Clothing Co Verse Sneaker Boutique Highline Custom Jewelry Urban Vintage J Richell Clothing Homeygrown Clothing BrealBfunny #1Urban Comedy Oaklandish Clothing A Diva's Closet Seductive Looks Alchemy Skin Spa K Antoinette Collection TRUE Clothing

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nina Parks's Life in Black in White: R.I.P Ivan Miranda

Midnight Sirens
The sirens wail but no one flinches
mesmorized by T.V's and computer screens
fast images and violent or over sexualized content
It was 1 am me and my best friend were discussing
the function of life experiences, mistakes we made with no take backs
life lessons, and thankful that we've made it this far
No car just bus passes, viewing the street as life passes
the Excelsior fell silent.
The words Hopie said still fresh in my brain she said she didn't feel safe walking the street at night. Shoulders tense, fist clenched, face hidden under a hoodie. Is the attire in our city.
The sirens wailed but no one flinches. No one runs towards the siren sounds, but the streets are calling.
He lay there love by his side, blood and his life drifting from his eyes. And I on the opposite corner one block down. Loosing my dinner into a toilet after drinking too much sake and beer.
The morning was thick. I left to work early and as I stepped out my gate there stood a few kids in black hoodies walking toward were the siren had sounded.
And work were there in my email inbox told the story of what my ears wittnessed.
The Midnight Sirens

Friday, August 01, 2008

Excelsior News

Photo taken from the Examiner Website. Early-morning dispute leaves 14-year-old dead Aug 1, 2008 3:00 AM (12 hrs ago) by Mike Aldax, The Examiner » 12 hrs ago: Early-morning dispute leaves 14-year-old dead «

Early-morning dispute leaves 14-year-old dead Aug 1, 2008 3:00 AM (12 hrs ago) by Mike Aldax, The Examiner » 12 hrs ago: Early-morning dispute leaves 14-year-old dead «

(Mike Aldax/The Examiner) Mourning a friend: People gather where 14-year-old Ivan Miranda collapsed after suffering multiple stab wounds. Miranda’s death is the 59th homicide this year in San Francisco Filed under: SAN FRANCISCO , Mike Aldax , Ivan Miranda

SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - Mourners gathered on the corner of a quiet residential block in the Excelsior district Thursday afternoon to grieve the death of a 14-year-old Mission High School sophomore who was fatally stabbed there in the dark hours of morning.

Ivan Miranda, 14, of San Francisco, became The City’s youngest homicide victim this year after suffering multiple stab wounds at the corner of Persia Avenue and Madrid Street at about 1:30 a.m., police said. He was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Just minutes before the late-night stabbing, the boy had been walking down the street with a girl at Persia Avenue and Lisbon Street when the two were confronted by four teenage boys, Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

The girl told Miranda to run, and even pushed one of the attackers who demanded money from her, police said.

When the group fled, she caught up to Miranda at Madrid Street and found him suffering from stab wounds, police said.

No arrests have been made in the case, Gittens said.

The boy’s death has left a chill on the quiet, breezy neighborhood block where the attack occurred. Family and friends lit candles and laid roses in two separate ceremonies on the northernmost corners of Persia Avenue — one on the corner where friends believed Miranda was stabbed, and the other across the street near a stop sign, where they said Miranda had collapsed from his wounds.

Trails of Miranda's blood remained in the shadow of the stop sign, beneath the rustling trees of the suburban-style residential block.

Friends said the suspects knew Miranda and that the killing was the result of an ongoing dispute. They said they didn’t believe the incident was gang-related.

“It's just ongoing beef between people,” said one friend, who declined to give his name. “It’s just the way it is. It’s a cycle.”

As of Thursday, authorities had not confirmed a cause for the attack. An investigation was underway, Gittens said.

The homicide was the 59th in San Francisco this year. At this time last year, there were 64.