Jemele Hill, Sean Spicer and the 3 Things We Have to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn About Living in America #HometownChat

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

Every week there’s a pop culture story that rises above all the news chatter. Recently it was Twitter comments by ESPNs Jemele Hill that sent shock waves. Her online post regarding how things played out in the Presidential elections might help us learn, unlearn and relearn things about living in America.

Then there was Sean Spicer’s cameo at the Emmy Awards. He was given a warm reception considering that he undermined reality (lied) when he served as Press Secretary. Hill’s take on white supremacy was met with threats of being fired. But Spicer’s take on inauguration crowd size might have been worse.

How do we explain Hill getting thrown to the wolves while Spicer gets to reinvent himself as a paid speaker? Some point to a double standard or bias. Others think Spicer has more people defending him while Hill’s squad gotta lay low. At a minimum we see the inter-play of facts, opinions and analysis.

We sift through opinions and analysis in order to resolve the facts. It’s like when I first migrated to America over 35 years ago, I had in my mind smooth sailing. But over time I’ve had to do a second and sometimes third take in order to breathe new life and add more woke to my dreams. I now realize that:

  1. American history tells the events while social activism tells the story.
  2. There’s usually an undercurrent of race and an undergarment of hope below the surface.
  3. It’s not everybody who represents the people that really speaks for the people (and vice versa).

We might come to understand American history by certain key dates. There’s Independence, Emancipation, and Obama’s elevation as the first African American U.S. President. But these dates also line-up with key periods which might be seen as Community 1.0, Community 2.0 and Community 3.0.

But it’s the kind of social activism in these periods that help us understand the events of history and the essence of the American story. What we find today is the idea that what went around before has returned to center stage. The events in Charlottesville Virginia are a good example of that reality.

When you look at historic events more up close and personal there’s usually a running thread that gives life to the story. Even from the beginning, the American story has had an undercurrent of race. The founding documents had Blacks represented as not fully human. That’s still taking time to unwind.

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The killing of unarmed black men that keeps ending with ‘not guilty’ verdicts spawned a Black Lives Matter movement. This has even spilled over into the NFL. But through it all there’s the undergarment of hope that’s led to progress made. Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ was one example of hope over skepticism.

Every so often there’s an unforgettable moment that makes us say ‘hold up, wait a minute.’ For some it was Michael Brown. For others it was Trayvon Martin. When certain officials speak out on these cases you get the feeling that not everybody who represents the people really speaks for the people (and vice versa).

Here we are in 2017 seeing things play-out that seemingly takes us back 100 years. It feels like the inciting of a more pissed-off union than us pursuing a more perfect union. We can’t always rely on what various officials say. So I’ve had to learn, unlearn and relearn some things in order to know the real story.

Tip: Sometimes life is about turning lemons into lemonade and other times about seeing history through the social activism grade.

Talkback: How does the undercurrent of race or the undergarment of hope affect the way we see American history?

Tracks: James Brown – Living in America – https://youtu.be/c5BL4RNFr58

French Montana – Unforgettable –  https://youtu.be/B54PgHTa08M

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Chance the Rapper & Michael Bennett Give Lessons on Being ‘Purposed by’ in Hometown America – #HomtownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
Ms. Cathy Hughes, Broadcast Media Pioneer

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
Cam Newton, NFL Pro Bowl Quarterback

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

March Madness in college basketball is set to jump off. It’s where teams are turned into game-time brackets. Some fans have hype and props for their favorite player. Then there’s much props for Chance the Rapper and NFL’s Michael Bennett for giving lessons on being ‘purposed by’ in hometown America.

Chance made news for donating one million dollars to the Chicago Public Schools. He even came up with his selection list of 10 schools that will receive $10,000 each. This decision helped inspire Bennett to layout some dollars for scholars as well. Bennett even supported recent Women’s Day events.

It seems there’s a new class of activist athletes & artists not afraid to speak their minds or put money where their heart is. They understand the importance as public figures of being able to deliver showbiz fun and reflection, on and off the big stage. They spread shine beyond what they do in primetime.

They’re using social appeal to influence the steps hometowns might take to up-shot their game. There were many others from the old days or those from today’s phase who’re serious about seeing a new round of social change whether in urban areas or the heartland. The key is recognizing that when:

  1. Freedoms feel limited, being woke should be unlimited.
  2. Resource are put in freeze-mode, vision should be put in airplane-mode.
  3. Opportunity gets taken for a ride, imagination should breakout a new stride.
  4. Progress wants to take a backseat, projects should take a front seat.

Some wonder whether with new efforts to undo and undermine certain social gains if there’s a new villain in town. Typically in movies the villain is the character whose motives seem to have bad intentions. It’s as if the role the villain plays brings a feeling like there’s someone or something out there to get you.

As Chance and Bennett know there’s a difference between PR – purposeful reality and VR – villain reality. One operates from some core ideals the other usually operates strangely. One is where government or the system wants to serve you. The other is where it feels like they’re trying to swerve you.

Even when freedoms seem like they’re becoming more limited being woke should become more unlimited. This might make sense when flying high in the sky. During pre-flight preps the flight attendant reminds passengers to switch device mode. So calls and data services of email, etc will be unavailable.

That doesn’t mean the smart phone becomes useless. There’re other functions that can be performed or apps used that don’t depend on data service. So for communities that might feel the pinch and pressure of VR with resources put in freeze-mode, it’s a smart time to put vision in airplane mode for a better PR.

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The example by Chance and Bennett is so important. They’ve challenged their peers to offer proceeds, resources or other incentives for spurring next-level communities. It’s kinda like giving folks a shot at being down with OPP – opportunity, purpose and having a plan. That’s core for being in Community 3.0.

There’ve been times in our history, when opportunity got taken for a ride but imagination did breakout a new stride. Sometimes that stride was with new inventions becoming so commonplace we take them for granted now. Other times that new stride was in neighborhoods and meeting places of social justice.

There was a time when agricultural farms were the thing that moved the economy and community. Then we saw a shift to industry with the rise of machines and a focus on efficiency. The tech push came next where information value is premium. Now things have been moving towards ‘work & woke education.’

What’s the difference between today’s social issues and past social effects? What can we learn from those old-school game changers and apply with today’s modern day social up-lifters? It’s what you find when folks read the shifting social tides, in going from ordinary citizens to extraordinary community.

When progress wants to take a backseat or move in reverse, it’s the right projects that take a front-seat for moving things forward. It’s in everyday folks choosing to step out on faith and attract the right people, resources & strategies towards a breakthrough. Community 3.0 can be that right project at the right time.

Each time Chance releases a new album it’s seen as ‘produced by.’ There could well be a few collaborations with other artists. Community 3.0 efforts represent the type of projects that might be seen as ‘purposed by.’ This means doing things fresh and releasing new ‘social tracks’ in a U + Me kind of way.

Chance & Bennett help us see what happens as folks break out a new stride. This means streets of hope rise like high tide. Plus those ready to spread some shine will lead within a more purposeful reality. Together they’ll spark a different kind of ‘march madness’ for a different kind of social steppers groove.

Groove-tracks: John Legend – Shine – https://youtu.be/hzQHnRPY3Zc

R. Kelly – Step in the Name of Love – https://youtu.be/nj71KbE6ekg