How Do We Get Past a Stalemate in Doing the Work Needed by Putting Country Over Partisanship?

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“It was like a scene from a fraternity. There were pizza boxes strewn all over like something out of the Animal House movie.” That’s how someone who was in the room described the actions of a group of elected officials. They were hoping to give attention to a point of view, but it was a bad example to kids.

We’re at a moment in history where something’s gotta give! There are stories of students ‘pissing’ on others at a high school football game. How do we help them move past such hurtful acts? On a broader level, how do we get past a stalemate in doing the work needed by putting country over partisanship?

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Those questions require a root-cause analysis of where we are. In one sense we’re dealing with some officials who’d rather news-cycle gimmicks that real work ethic. How else can those actions be explained when the elected officials who should know better, treated a secure facility like a schoolyard playground.

There are two public project releases that might help us get through the stalemate. One is the book by an anonymous author in the current administration. It’s expected to be a warning about the kinds of detrimental decisions and actions taken by government officials. The other is the Harriet Tubman movie.

Tubman’s legacy shines a light on the Underground Railroad, which was responsible for providing passage to freedom for hundreds of slaves. ‘Anonymous’ as the author is being known, may give us their own ‘underground’ look at some of the reasons behind certain actions taken over the past few years.

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If we’re going to get past the stalemate as existed during Tubman’s days and in these current times it might take an education approach that W.E.B. Dubois spoke about in the past. He felt then that if Democracy was going to survive, we must stop encouraging ignorance. Well if our partisan stalemate is going to break, we must stop encouraging ignorance.

History also shows that to move forward it takes civic engagement. That was an important part of the various movements that brought change. Whether it was the abolition movement then or the civil rights movement of the recent past, citizens who’re fed up are the ones who find ways to rise-up to new glory.

Society can also rise-up in enterprise. That’s what we saw after the Great Depression and after World Wars. There was an Industrial Revolution creating a surge in enterprise. After the Civil War there was a boom in civic engagement and business start-ups. Today it seems we’re in a culture war so how can we move past the stalemate?

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Maybe the Harriet movie will remind us of how social, political and economic empowerment can help release untapped potential. Maybe the ‘Anonymous’ author will open our eyes to what’s at stake. We will need a ‘bigger than self’ mindset to taking actions that are less about news-cycle gimmicks or ego-gratification. We must be guided by a sense of duty to the Constitution and real truth-emancipation.

Tracks: Andra Day – Rise Up  – https://youtu.be/lwgr_IMeEgA

Common, John Legend – Glory – https://youtu.be/HUZOKvYcx_o

The Top Stories of Today that Might Make Dr. King ask ‘What is America’s Blueprint?’ – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been a wild and crazy time in social anxiety and political discourse over the past few days, and even over many months. The list of mouth-dropping moments is still growing. As the nation celebrates another Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, many consider throwback moments from his day compared to today.

During his time King delivered inspiring messages of hope and social change. Sometimes it was in written form like his letter from a Birmingham jail. Other times it was through his oratorical genius heard in the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. His life’s work continues to challenge the powerful and empower the masses.

There was his 1967 speech to a Philadelphia High School where he asked students to consider their life’s Blueprint. He told them that it’s important to have a great sense of self-worth as well as a determination to achieve excellence. He also encouraged a commitment to principles of beauty, love and justice.

He ended by saying no matter the challenge whether social or personal, they should just keep moving. That’s a theme that would apply today as we consider top news stories and ask ourselves ‘What is America’s Blueprint?’ The answer needs to be more than just political talking points as we consider:

  1. What gives us the honor of being America the brave?
  2. How do we take pride in being America the beautiful?
  3. How do we improve the standing of America the brand?
  4. What keeps us moving towards being America the best?

A tragic fire in the Bronx a few weeks ago took the life of an American soldier. It was reported he went back in the building many times to rescue others. He lost his life in the process. There’s no question that he was an example of America the brave. He didn’t die fighting a war but warring the fight to save others.

These days there’s a fight for truth on our hands. It takes being ‘America the brave’ where loyalty doesn’t get confused with its newest form of lie-alty. Dr. King once said “To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” Well, today he might update those words in saying “To ignore lie-alty is to become accomplice to it.”

The Superbowl show lineup is set to include a performance of America the Beautiful by Leslie Odom Jr. The national anthem will be sung by P!nk and the halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake. But it’s more than just a song and a dance in these performances that will help us take pride in America the beautiful.

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King would remind us that we fall short of America the beautiful if we glorify the flag but decry the ideals of the Constitution. We fall short if we elevate hate but denigrate love. We fall short if we multiply our economics but divide our politics. We fall short if socialism benefits the rich and capitalism hurts the poor.

Some recent news stories make us wonder about the effects on America the brand. Having migrated to the US over 35 years ago, there’s a sense for the ‘before and after’ experience. For many, before coming to America there’s a sense of awe and wonder. After coming to America it’s a sense of wonder and awe.

On the inside you see the winning formula of ‘America the brand’ is its diversity. That diversity is built on being an immigrant nation. So can ‘America the brand’ improve its standing by damaging the winning formula? That’s the question to be answered by political leaders if they want America to keep its magic.

These days King might have a problem with many of the policy reversals underway. America’s history has had its moments of choosing between settling or rising. It’s like a bottle of juice or liquor that sits for a long time. They’ll need a little stirring or shaking-up to get the full measure of taste and enjoyment.

King reminds us that it’ll take a drum major instinct to shake things up, keep things moving and get the full measure of America’s promise. Sometimes it’s being a drum major for dignity, for excellence, for purpose. We get to ‘America the best’ by being a drum major for justice or at least standing up for something.

Tip: We’ll keep celebrating America the beautiful and moving towards America the best by being a drum major for justice or at least standing up for something.

Talkback: How are you being a drum major socially, professionally, in the community or in pop culture?

Tracks: Bob Marley – Keep on Moving – https://youtu.be/tsjVzuUg4qo

Andra Day ft Common – Stand for Something –  https://youtu.be/2GhY7qXGx-0

Shannon Sharpe & Angela Rye Share Some ‘Bread & Butter’ on Staying Woke and Being Real With Folk – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– ‘Diddy’ Combs, Rap Mogul & Game-Changer

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Lebron James, Pro Player & Philanthropist

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been an interesting few weeks in sports, business, politics and culture. You could count those ‘shaking your head’ moments. There was enough to make it to the SNL highlight reel. But Shannon Sharpe and Angela Rye choose to share some ‘bread & butter’ on staying woke and being real with folk.

Sharpe had a few thoughts on the American Dream as a response to Dez Bryant’s social media comments. Rye had some thoughts on public policy as a response to another TV guest. It wasn’t the first time they’ve had to tackle a hot-button issue. They take pride in getting the word out on such matters.

There were also those who made news for making comparisons to Dr. King’s legacy and Rosa Parks’ advocacy. It was an interesting line of reasoning to link King’s social tactics with current political antics. The other tried to compare the United Airlines debacle with Rosa Parks’ action on justice for a people.

If there were ever a time to put things in a Community 3.0 perspective it’s now when we’re not sure if people are serious or making a joke. After the dust settles on these recent events there’ll likely be a new order of things from making sense of what happened. The role pop culture will increasingly play is to:

  1. Export clips in entertainment and import nuggets in enlightenment.
  2. Engage progress in system accountability and explain the process of self accountability.
  3. Experience more fun in the groove and put more hustle in the grind.
  4. Elevate ideas that clear-up confusion and express emotions that send a good vibration.

The Fast & Furious movie franchise took over the box office lead in its eighth release. It ranked #1 setting records in weekend-opening revenue. The movie saw the return of the regular cast of characters with a few new additions. Where it made big waves was with an international audience pulling most of its sales.

An ongoing ‘balancing act’ with pop culture involves ways to export clips in entertainment and import nuggets in enlightenment. Nowadays, people are paying more attention to getting jiggy and staying woke. It’s not enough to laugh out loud without making sense of the new order of things happening around us.

In the early days of America’s beginnings much time was spent crafting laws and the language of social engagement. There were emerging issues at stake that would determine the foundation of our nation. Some of those matters were handled fairly and squarely. Others seem to linger-on or live-on in new ways.

That’s partly where Bryant and Sharpe are coming from. It’s as if they’d like to see more happening in pop culture to engage progress in system accountability and to explain the process of self-accountability.  Maybe it’s not happening fast enough when compared to shifts made in technology over recent years.

These days there’re more tech tools at our fingertips. The smart phone is one such device that’s made the world smaller. Furthermore, seeing headsets hooked to phones is part of everyday life. This creates options to experience more fun in the groove, hustle in the grind and make community smarter.

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Those who put more hustle in the grind let their best unwind. We see this with Sharpe and Rye as they do the things to broaden their influence. Maybe they as well as Bryant help us see that the political swings between left & right or the social swings between smooth & coarse call for greater impact possibilities.

In one sense, Sharpe knows we’ve come a far way since our founding. But there’re dreams that don’t make it because of system roadblocks. Bryant’s take is that even with system roadblocks there’re still ways to move past these circumstances. This isn’t a case of ‘either or’ but of both making good points.

The debate over who’s right and who’s off may end soon. But some debates can fall short if they do little to elevate ideas that clear-up confusion or express emotions that send a good vibration. While the topic is good for getting people stirred-up it might take a bit more of a personal ‘aha’ to get folks turned-up.

Sharpe says that’s what happened to him. He had some trying circumstances growing up being raised by a grandmother. It was her influence then that helped him reach great heights. He knows that while that worked for him it’s not always the results others see from coming up on the rough side of ‘Mean Street.’

With Easter behind us and Summer ahead what might pop culture do for Community 3.0 and vice versa? Well, it would be great for Bryant and Sharpe to deliver a ‘Coming to America’ moment. That’s the broader perspective people get not just from visiting, but by seeing the light that becomes eye-opening.

Bryant will be back for another season with the Cowboys. He’s probably getting in shape for his return. If he’s on his game he’ll likely have a few more replay moments for cheering fans. But beyond work & play, the more that people experience ‘Coming to America’ moments the more value there is to pop culture.

Block Talkback: Does Rap get a bad rap when people generalize about its affect as an art form or is the pop culture pendulum swing between ‘smooth & coarse’ something that’s been around for ages?

Groove-tracks: Common – The Light – https://youtu.be/OjHX7jf-znA

LeCrae ft Ty Dolla $ign – Blessings –  https://youtu.be/i58IH2D8sWQ

Alicia Keys & Rihanna as Artists Known for their Hot Tracks and Humanitarian Hearts – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
Rev. Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Drum Major

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
Rihanna, Global Music Artist

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

This year’s Oscars had major confusion as to which movie won for Best Picture. With the awards season in full effect other artists are looking forward to their own time in the spotlight. It’s great to celebrate chart toppers and emulate performers like Alicia and Rihanna known for their hot tracks & humanitarian hearts.

But the Oscars also had a down home moment when folks from a city tour bus were invited inside the hall. The ‘star’ of this surprise part of the program was ‘Gary from Chicago’ who was busy taking pictures with Hollywood celebs. The mix of folks from the bus was a good reminder of America’s rich diversity.

From our history to the outlines of the American flag we see what can happen when stars and stripes come together. In a sense it was stars and stripes that came together in that Oscars moment.  Alicia might see it as the workings of a blended family while for Rihanna it’s shining bright like a diamond.

As artists they’re walking in shoes of past icons, including Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson. Simone sang about being young gifted and black. That was a kind of anthem during times of unrest and upset. Jackson was there in the trenches using her voice to lift spirits and move the needle on social activism.

Alicia & Rihanna know social impact is more than just working that body but also having a body of work. It’s more than just a singing voice but also a social voice for greater good by seasoned citizens and an engaged next generation. Having stars & stripes come together in Community 3.0 (call it C30) means:

  1. Giving no more reasons that leave ‘small change’ on the sidelines.
  2. Bringing lots more ‘We the People’ potential to the frontlines.
  3. Having a more ‘turnt-up’ mindset in hometowns over time.
  4. Moving a ‘C30’ vision into something primetime.

Most people can think of a time of walking over ‘small change’ in the street. It might have been a nickel or a dime. For someone who’s well-off, small change will have lower value than for someone less-off. For a less-off person, small change can be the difference maker in buying a bottle of water to quench thirsts.

There’re ways to have small change in smart community make a big difference. It might be small change when we plug our smart phones into the outlet. The power increases in small percent jumps. But before you know it apps get updated. Before you know it the phone is fully charged and ready for smart use.

When officials offer the same old same old to the community, then ‘We the People’ have to get plugged-into some new ways. We learn this from early human history in two kinds of social uplift situations. There was one where the powers-that-be was told ‘Let the People Go’ and the other told ‘#LetThePeopleKnow.’

If Moses and Pharaoh or Joseph and the King don’t ring a bell then at least modern civil rights history should. What they have in common is how folks stepped-up their true calling and hometown game. They brought more ‘We the People’ potential to the frontlines in every little step they took and move they made.

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made news saying people don’t fully appreciate what makes America great. It’s not simply in the cars we drive, homes we live in or towering skyscrapers we build. It’s in the down home ways we function as a melting pot of diverse ideas and breakout talents.

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When diamond is mined there’s a breakout process before it has market value. It’s all about how the diamond in the rough gets ‘turnt-up’ into diamond in the bling. Having a more ‘turnt-up’ mindset in community is in a ‘stars & stripes’ diversity that empowers consumers and citizens for more street value.

This will make us better by doing things to move a C30 vision into primetime. Remember when AOL first came on the scene. It was like an add-on feature with a new computer. It wasn’t there to compete with the computer but to connect the user (through the computer) to a broader space called the World Wide Web.

AOL partnered with computer makers to give more options to the consumer. The same could happen if C30 were to partner with urban radio to connect ‘block talk’ with the world of streets and beats. The same is true if C30 produced civic dream features connecting hometowns with ‘destiny’s dots’ in the community.

During the Montgomery Bus Boycott the powers-that-be weren’t ready to respond to ‘Let the People Go.’ So those in the movement also went with the ‘Let the People Know’ strategy. Along the way folks were told by movement leaders that there comes a time when time itself is ready to make a change.

In the days ahead if there’s ongoing confusion about civic affairs it might be baffling when certain officials remain hardened to their positions. But there’s sure to come a time when even time’s ready to make a change. Even in having to ‘Let the People Know,’ there came a time when ‘I Have a Dream’ took shape.

So to move C30 into primetime as in days gone by, there’re times to work with key decision makers and times to affect other powers-that-be. There’re times things might be well said but not well meant. There’re times to fight the power and times for plugging-in the power to be ‘turnt-up’ as young, gifted & stacked.

Groove-tracks: Snap – The Power – https://youtu.be/j1BNcSBApOU

Common & Lalah Hathaway – Young Gifted & Black – https://youtu.be/pPfgjNjLZ9I

Kerry Washington & Jane Fonda Want Us to Wake Up and Push for What Matters Now – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

Women across the country came out in droves to make their voices heard. The rallies planned in many cities turned out larger crowds than expected. Even in the coldest parts of the world men and women joined together. So Kerry Washington & Jane Fonda want us to wake up and push for what matters now.

Some are questioning whether it should have been called a women’s march. Others consider whether the Presidential campaign, transition and inauguration speech were factors. In some ways the rally events were an outpouring of emotions on the Obama years, people’s tears, the country’s fears and racial layers.

We saw many poster signs at the rallies. One with a Martin Luther King quote said “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” On social media was a church sign with words from Dr. King saying “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

As the first week of the incoming administration unfolds, a new level of social activism seems to be in the making. It didn’t help that over the weekend the press secretary flat-out made stuff up in what he told the public. So it’s possible that the use of ‘alternative facts’ will grow if we fail to #LetThePeopleKnow about:

  1. The great suppression in our politics.
  2. The great confession in our culture.
  3. The great expression in our community.
  4. The great connection in our country.

In his final White House press conference, President Obama gave a list of issues he’ll be monitoring as a citizen in the days ahead. High on the list was voter suppression. He said we’re the only major democratic nation in the world that makes it harder for citizens to vote. It’s a case of suppression over progression.

This was actively done in voter ID laws, reduced polling locations, restricting voter information and raising social discontent. It’s among the WMDs – ‘Weapons of Mass Dah’ causing alarm for those who choose citizenship over political gamesmanship. Now it’s in ‘Birtherism 2’ with questions about ‘illegal’ voting.

Haven’t we seen this before, the efforts in suppression and ‘alternative facts?’ Think of it as more direct accounts of hogwash (Dah!) for telling lies and spreading delusion. Plus, the great confession in our culture has roots in the Constitution from a ‘vanilla view’ of America with Blacks seen as three-fifths value.

These ‘alternative facts’ from early days and recent times are similar to versions of delusion seen today. Some hold extreme views in their minds which say white is always right and black must step back or be out of sight. So it’s a good thing when the Courts strike down Voter ID laws from state to state.

Remember when the campaign team said that Michelle Obama’s speech was not plagiarized at the GOP convention? The person trying to do the convincing then is the same person who’s the press secretary now. After the dust settled they made a surprise confession that the speech was lifted from Obama’s text.

In the movie Hidden Figures, the role played by Taraji P. Henson taught us about moving from what is to what should be. She kept pressing until she joined a meeting of the minds with NASA engineers and decision makers plotting the next space trip. Her math skills genius was the great expression in the room.

This kind of unsung talent can be duplicated in community. After the founding of the nation we saw Community 1.0. After the Civil War & Civil Rights eras we saw Community 2.0. These shifts took us from what is, to the next level. Now we’re poised to see Community 3.0. We’ll make the shift by learning from technology which went from ‘flip to smart’ phones, from a manual operating system to Windows PC.

In community is the call for a ‘system reboot’ that moves us to set our sights, stretch our skills, strut our stuff and save our streets. It would also be a kind of ‘social moonshot’ for the fulfillment of many more ‘I Have a Dream’ promises. This would be a giant leap for smart community, special service & civic dreams.

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At the women’s marches people showed up not based on net worth but on forging a greater connection of networks. It was all peaceful even though we heard some ‘choice words’ by a few as hearts were opened. But there were also thought-provoking ideas shared, reminding us that as a country thinks, so it is.

Meantime, there’re cabinet posts under review to serve our nation. What we don’t want is a political moon landing that’s like stepping into dirt on ‘Trump Island.’ It would be better to see a giant leap of faith across reasonably-minded individuals who know America as the land of the free and home of the melting pot.

So while elected officials try to do ‘repeal & replace’ we should challenge their intentions of reversing the gains and returning the pains. We should also be doing our own ‘rewind & retrace’ so we understand where all this is coming from. This way we’re not going from love and happiness to wonder and sadness.

Groove-tracks: John Legend, Common, Melanie Fiona & The Roots  – Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc

John Legend – Surefire – https://youtu.be/Hih2iyO-LH4

Doc Rivers Steps to the Mic on the Day ‘American Idol’ in Politics Left the Building for an Alternate Replacement #HometownChat

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Over the past few months I’ve tried to observe the campaign season with two eyes: One looking at the concerns of those in Urban America and the other at resentment by those in Heartland America. I’ve been trying to figure-out and explain what’s going on these days. At times people want to throw-in the towel.

That’s why social media and local radio are buzzing. Sports radio too, as pros who played sports all their life are a little frustrated for how they’re seen by some fans and public figures. As if the spotlight on Colin Kaepernick wasn’t enough, now it’s NBA coach Doc Rivers who stepped to the mic on ‘locker room talk.’

There was a time we’d sit, watch and cheer our favorite performers. Not just as families watching American Idol on TV but also as citizens watching the Presidential debate. With Idol now a recent past, it seems the day we see politics as an ‘American Idol’ has left the building for an alternate replacement.

The voter frustration level can be hard to put into words. This leads people to throw logic out the door and attach themselves to things on an emotional level. In a sense that’s how the second Presidential debate went off the rails. It was over-run by Alt-Right venom and low-brow antics of insults and miss-information.

It can be entertaining to see insults fly. But it’s even more frightening to think how miss-information is a great threat to society. This makes it harder to learn much in civic affairs. Still, without the benefit of a real scientific poll, it seems the main frustrations of American voters include the following:

  1. The political system (i.e. stalemate) isn’t working for enough regular citizens.
  2. The social/justice system isn’t serving some communities fairly.
  3. The census demographic changes create fear that the country is becoming more diverse too fast.

Recently, President Obama had the first veto override in his Presidency. On the next day, sponsors and supporters of the Bill in Congress said it would need to be modified. It left some political commentators to think that this was just a way to have an override on record during the President’s two terms in office.

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Even one of the Bill’s supporters laid blame at the President’s feet. This example of legislative wrangling was a reminder of how the political system sometimes seems to be more about posture than main purpose. It’s become a kind of run-around that isn’t working for enough regular citizens.

Then there’re communities that are left feeling like ‘nobody.’ This may go as far back as America’s early founding where the Constitution recognized African-Americans as having a three-fifths standing. It was a sort of ‘Class-B’ citizenship with ‘bogus’ reasons for unequal legal protection under the law.

Today, some citizens are seen as a threat instead of an asset. For example, how is it that an alleged terror suspect known to be armed and dangerous is captured alive, but an innocent unarmed Oklahoma resident whose car is disabled doesn’t get to see another day? This creates a social strain in community.

Other things might not be obvious but sure seem curious. Increasingly there’s a different despair that’s floating in the Heartland America air. As a broader set of immigrants enter our shores there’s a fear of the census demographic changes. It’s as if America’s diversity is seen as a threat instead of an asset.

Pittsburg Steelers fans know something about the ‘Terrible Towel.’ It’s a way they rally the team with a wave of towels in the air. Sometimes the fun of the game is also seeing fans create a ‘rolling wave’ around the stadium. This might start off in one section of the stands and roll around in a complete circle.

Maybe that’s the kind of vision we need from the next leader of the Free World. This would mean having public policies and hometown synergies where citizens participate in a ‘Great Wave.’ It might start from one end of America’s shore and travel around the coastline to the other end. This way more people get to experience the full fun and ethnic flavor from rolling together.

Groove-tracks: Common – The People –  https://youtu.be/S7B2VgRShew

Alicia Keys – In Common – https://youtu.be/4HazJhPnrB8

The Colin Kaepernick Effect: How ‘Made in America’ is More Than Just a Designer Label or Stamp of Approval #HometownChat

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A simple way to describe my immigrant journey is “Born in Jamaica, Made in America.” This means at various times in the year you’ll find jerk chicken or fried turkey on my dinner table. I just haven’t been able to do the ‘afro thing.’ But I’ve come to learn how ‘Made in America’ is more than just a designer label.

As the NFL season got going many wondered out loud on social media about the Colin Kaepernick effect. His taking a stand might not be seen as a halo but it certainly isn’t hell either. Somewhere in between is a lesson for how ‘social labels’ prevent us from seeing through the fog of a culture clash to live higher.

There’s a certain sense of pride that comes with designer clothing labels. They can provide some with the feeling that they’ve got socio-economic status. But these labels might also be used in another way that could appear self-righteous or condescending. Maybe that’s some of what’s going on here because:

  1. History shows we sometimes see things through a prism of prejudice.
  2. Oftentimes a select few people get to experience things in a lane of privilege.
  3. We are distracted (fooled even) by believing things through a parade of ‘false promises.’

These days we have the Internet at our finger tips. Who knows, maybe human progress is taking us down a path where we’re becoming technological adept but socially inept. This could be part of Kaepernick’s message. But it’s also the scope of efforts to get prejudicial flaws out of the criminal justice system.

Interview with sister of Terence Crutcher

Prejudice seems to raise its ugly head in ways that affect the legal protection of African-Americans under the law. How else can we explain the unwarranted death of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma. Think about how the social theory of ‘Broken Windows’ or Rockefeller drug laws unduly harmed urban communities?

These measures created a strain/stain for some but political/professional gain for others. Wearing the label ‘Made in America’ shouldn’t just be about padding our pocketbooks. It should open our eyes to these inequities, injustices and inconsistencies. This way we’re not looking down on others with prejudice.

If flawed laws are a leading force for fixing social ills, then that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are other stories made possible out of privilege. Just think about Ryan Lochte being on Dancing with the Stars or Brock Turner who served little time for rape. This wouldn’t be possible for just anyone.

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Social privilege could be a factor in what Kaepernick is trying to express. He’s lived in a bi-racial environment which allows him to connect with the privileged side of America. But he’s also seeing how others get left behind in the political games that stiff & stifle the less-privileged treated as second-class.

This may be why there’s a bubbling frustration across the country for how some past and present election campaigns make a joke of the process. So there’s a growing tide of ‘We the People’ turning into modern-day populism. But things seem to have gotten out of hand where it feels like Politics Gone Wild.

It’s like the beekeeper in charge of running a bee yard. Then an outsider comes in and stirs up the bee hive. Now the bees are distracted from working towards shared purpose. Instead they’re driven by shared chaos. That’s some of what has happened where citizens are being stirred-up by the buzz of chaos.

Have things become more of a race for ratings and a parade of false promises? That’s a self-starter question that will be on many minds between now and November. In between the halo and hell of this presidential campaign season is figuring-out whether what’s good for ratings is good for America’s reality.

Marvin Gaye once asked “What’s Going On?” Well, Kaepernick might not have everybody’s stamp of approval, but he could help spread shared purpose. Dr. King gave us shared purpose with the words ‘I Have a Dream.’ JFK did it with the goal of a moon landing. We can propel shared purpose by how we handle social issues, system flaws and pursue truth promises.

Groove-tracks: The Black Eyed Peas – Where’s the Love? –  https://youtu.be/YsRMoWYGLNA


John Legend ft The Roots & Melanie Fiona
– Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc

Ice Cube & Common Bring ‘Barbershop’ Talk from Same Ol’ to New Day Solutions – #HometownChat

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Trivia: Who was Major League Baseball’s first ever rookie of the year? (Answer below)

The Bad Boy Records family is back on the block. That’s what Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs wants folks to know with an upcoming tour. Tickets sold out in minutes so they’re adding more shows. On another front, Ice Cube and Common bring some Barbershop talk from same ol’ community to new day solutions.

In a statement, Diddy said “The Bad Boy Family includes some of the biggest names in music and songs that helped define a whole generation of music. Also, we are celebrating one of the greatest of all time – Notorious B.I.G.” So what if Barbershop & Hip-Hop (or old-school & new-school) helped us jell as working class heroes?

Well that might call for a 21st century Juke Joint. Back in the day that was where local peeps did the social thing. They’d hangout and get the scoop on happenings around town. Some of that is seen today on social media. But a new ‘joint’ would do a community good, just as milk does a body good.

Another throwback that might fuse ‘new day’ solutions into communities is a M.O.D.D. Squad. That name reminds us of a popular TV show back in the ‘70s that featured a diverse ethnic/cultural mix of ‘street players.’ They came together to address some stubborn problems affecting the community.

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This new MODD Squad as a ‘mix of defenders and dreamers’ learns from past Civil Rights efforts and those community super-heroes. They made change happen with defenders of the cause and dreamers in the movement. That’s why Dr. King knew who he was speaking to in saying ‘I Have a Dream.’

But if King’s dream of social change and national unity is to filter ‘left and right’ across society, there’s something else we can do to make ‘smart community’ a reality. This requires the kind of hometown solutions that work like smart phones. So people, businesses and communities have more ‘zoom zoom.’

Recently there’s been lots of talk about equal pay for women. The U.S. Women’s soccer team plus others in media and Corporate America have chimed-in. As the old saying goes “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” That’s true for equal pay as well as for communities around the way.

So as the political season heats up for the NY Primary, the candidates try to explain their platform. Some are buzzing about Super PACs, Super Delegates and having flashbacks to the term super-predators. The question people need to ask today is “who’s helping us reach new heights as super citizens?”

Answer: Jackie Robinson

 

Groove-tracks: Ceelo Green – Working Class Heroes – https://youtu.be/-fKPn0t7j6Y


Jamal & Hakeem Lyon (Empire)
– Good People –  https://youtu.be/uWIvKIUaHv4

What America Needs Besides Politicians with Bravado and Cases of Celebrity Justice

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Trivia: Which U.S. Statehouse will have a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on its grounds next year? (Answer below)

Donald Trump thinks he’ll be the best U.S. President ever. NJ Governor Chris Christie would like to think he’s ready for the top job. He recently joined the list of ‘ready to shine’ politicians running for higher office. But who’s going say what America needs besides politicians with bravado and cases of celebrity justice?

Many civil rights advocates have called for some kind of plan in urban renewal. It would need to focus on opportunity, justice and unsung dreams. It should also address senseless violence and civic accountability. A noted historian thinks FDRs ‘New Deal’ is a template for the next steps and next level.

Those programs got to the heart and soul of America’s post-Depression era. They helped spawn a ‘middle class rising’ before income inequality took roots. In today’s times of ‘post-Recession blues’ we need to champion an ‘Urban Change Now’ effort that treats blocks, brands and budgets as social assets.

The concerns in urban communities are less about ideology and more about sociology. There’s a need for greater investment in social capital. Many don’t have the opportunity to just declare themselves fit for a job. So as the political class finds campaign money, they should also find resources for backyard issues.

Maybe there’s money to be found but not so much a ‘heart for people’ or the will to change. That’s why many citizens become turned-off, disconnected and in some cases disenfranchised. Some are hoping for a political revival that replaces newsmaker grandstanding with a sense of calling to public service.

It’s almost as if being unemployed or underemployed in the political class allows them to shop around their résumés. They believe their next job will land them in the White House. They’re the connected and relatively privileged who want us to support their platform. So how should we expect them to support us?

Dr. King proclaimed a time where “justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” So as we celebrate America’s Independence, it might be a good time for working on a ‘Mighty Rising.’ Otherwise we’ll simply be discussing a candidate’s poll numbers or debating another civilian uprising.

Answer: Georgia

Groove-tracks: John Legend ft The Roots & Melanie Fiona – “Wakeup Everybody” – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc

Bruce Springsteen – “The Rising” –  https://youtu.be/6i-fiRgbpr4

Mitt Romney Rocks the GOP with a Statement of Conscience beyond Politics

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Trivia: Which two former NFL player and NBA player have said they’ve still ‘got game’? (Answer below)

“It can’t get any worse than this!” That’s how some people felt upon hearing news of the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. As details unfolded, the alleged suspect and motive became clearer. So without mincing words Mitt Romney rocked the GOP with a statement of conscience beyond politics.

His comment on Twitter regarding taking down the confederate battle flag was a surprise in some circles. The question of whether the flag represents heritage or hate should be simple to resolve. The same is true for other similar hot topics like senseless gun violence and related matters of political stalemate.

Maybe the flag is like a scab on history. Just think about what happens with a cut on your body. Before the area fully heals there’s a scab that develops. That scab must then fall off to complete the healing process. To further heal in race relations Romney is saying the scab (the flag) has to leave the area.

Regarding senseless gun violence look no further than a few decades ago of a high rate in highway fatalities. It became such a public health/safety concern that authorities took steps to require motorists wearing seatbelts. Maybe our approach to the 2nd Amendment needs a real paradigm shift as well.

Those hot topics can be fuel for heated debates. But there’re some hot-button issues that seem to be overlooked. When the events of Charleston or Baltimore or Newtown or other recent major tragedy are considered in total you’ll find a few common threads. So our ideas have to go from ideology to solutions.

A ‘We the People,’ response needs to move beyond politics or small talk to lasting change as follows:

  1. Demand a ‘Purpose Curriculum’ in schools
  2. Reinvent an opportunity-sharing strategy in communities
  3. Engage an integrated plan of empowerment in social groups.

Some describe the actions of the Charleston shooter as evil. But his manifesto also shows a kid who was lost for purpose. After repeating 9th grade and dropping out of school he didn’t have a handle on his place in society. Some tragedies in other cities were carried-out by those who might have been lost for purpose.

While mental health is a factor, prejudice is not mental illness but more a mentality. Moreover, the effects of racism are usually seen in systems, structures and matters of self-sufficiency which can contribute to an opportunity gap. So income inequality is not just about the Stock Market but also the ‘Block Market.’

There are hundreds of groups that the Charleston shooter could have joined. It seems he choose to align with ‘hate group noise’ on the Internet. There’s no denying the power of social media. But the timeless context for social change and empowerment is found in squashing misinformation and spreading hope.

On Sunday, 21 yr-old Jordan Spieth took home $1.8 million for winning the U.S Open Golf. A few days earlier a judge issued a $1 million bond to keep the 21 yr-old Charleston shooter locked-up. What’s different? A sense of purpose, exposure to opportunity and empowered sense of contribution to society.

Answer: Herschel Walker and Michael Jordan

Groove-tracks: Common ft. will.i.am – “A Dream” – https://youtu.be/XBa55sDTIiA

Imagine Dragons – Dream –  https://youtu.be/s-9KQJuLBgs