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I have this strange love/hate relationship with LeBron. Let me clarify, it’s not a relationship because I don’t know him personally.

But you know what I’m saying…

LeBron is the best player of his generation (there may be some debate of where his generation begins). Saying he’s one of the best players to ever grace the hardwood is like saying water is wet. My problem with LeBron is that everything seems so fabricated. That could be the pessimism of living in this artificial social media culture that is tempering my opinion. There are very few moments that feels honest, in a basketball context. His comradery with his teammates all seems posed and corny.

Then there is philanthropist LeBron…

This is a side of LeBron that he is making more public in recent years. He has begun to speak out on social issues and he not only gives money but gives his time to endeavors that he’s passionate about. He is the ultimate feel-good story. His calling “45” a bum was easily one of the best sports moments in 2017. He carried that momentum in 2018 by serving Laura Ingraham an L during All-Star Weekend. He has taken the mantle of being socially conscious in a world that would rather spend time creating a perfect Instagram life than fighting for actual change. This same world has been fragmented by race and class while we live in a created social media world. Instead of being the next Jordan in that aspect, he chose to be the next Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Then the trade deadline happened…

A team that was pretty much overhauled in the offseason. The mini banana boat crew didn’t work in Cleveland because well – D. Wade is old, hurt, and has lost a step. He often seemed lost in the offense and LBJ wanted Batman and Robin but instead, he got Art and Ben (old guys from Cocoon). Unfortunately, this isn’t a movie so there wasn’t a fountain of youth to be found. He never seems to be happy with his team unless they win a championship.

He continually holds franchises hostage with the refusal to sign a long-term contract which makes him a never-ending sports story. There is a LeBron will sign with ____ story daily on every sports outlet. I can’t be the only person tired of the “Where is the LeBron going “ topics.

It’s annoying. Actually, it’s obnoxious. It’s a self-centered desire to drive sports news.  That’s not to say that sports media isn’t complicit in this.

LeBron is a player whose talent is undeniable but he has an insatiable yearning to be liked and loved. I imagine when you’ve always been “the man” you are probably forever searching for that “real love”. That search is what motivates him to curate his manicured image where even candid moments seem to be a part of the LBJ Reality Show. He has led a scandal-free career and I’m sure that is not by accident. His biggest pox is the fact that he held a television special to announce where he is going in Free Agency.

Overall I love his game. He’s Scottie Pippen 2.0 — bigger, stronger, faster and way more gifted. I was always a huge Pippen fan. He sees the floor like a new generation Magic Johnson. He is a force with the rock whenever he feels like it — like a Wilt in his prime. LBJ makes other players seem small. I’ll never forget the last 2 minutes of Game 5 in the playoffs where he shut down then MVP Derrick Rose. Who can forget the Finals block on Steph or the run-down block of Iggy. He can be so dominant at points that we internally wonder if we can adjust the sliders to make the game a little more difficult for him.

That’s probably why it annoys most of us his about his yearly whining about needing new teammates or incessant flopping.

LeBron is on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA Greats. He’s also one of the most annoying diva personalities to ever grace the hardwood floor. I’m just over his player antics – from the flopping to his fear of commitment to an NBA team. He’s not Jordan or Kobe as he shouldn’t be – but man how great would it be if the LBJ stories were actually just about his basketball and philanthropy?

I want to love him like I love other players’ game I admire. But I can’t. It like being served Chinese food by a white person. It looks good, it may even smell right, but it’s not right – something isn’t right. When all is said done, you eat it, but you walk away feeling unfulfilled.

 

Every July 16 and September 13th I take time to celebrate the life Tupac Amaru Shakur because he was a larger than life figure in my childhood. I have this complex love hate relationship with Pac (Mostly because his fans are the equivalent to Cowboy fans: Annoying AF). His legacy depending on who you are talking to portrays him to be a larger than life figure or the next Malcolm X that got gunned down before he could achieve his space in the pantheon of Black Activists. My memories of him as a fan is that of a bipolar top tier rapper who could not decide if he was the activist we needed or the gangster his friends/bosses wanted him to be. The genius thing is neither one of those characters are wrong or bad in anyway.

If anything 2Pac represented our truest self. The battle that rests inside of all of us. The war of fighting our inner demons but still wanting to have strength enough to leave a positive mark in the world. His actions were bipolar because the same rapper that penned “Brenda’s Got A Baby” also penned “I Get Around” and the ode to video groupies “”All About U”. Do you expect anything less from a 20 year old savant with money to burn? He is the same rapper that threatened to pillage a whole coast but still during his last days sought to rebuild bridges and relationships that his scorched earth policy destroyed. He is the essence of America, killing ants with sledgehammers and after seeing the damage realizing that we used the wrong tool.

Personally he’s the rebel of my adolescence years. He was my bridge between the positivity of Chuck D and the misogyny of Snoop Doggy Dogg. On one song he was teaching me how about the prison industrial complex on “Trapped” and then on the next album I’m dying to join him at a West Coast pool party like “I Get Around”. The flipside to the fun came via a sodomy charge and the infamous shooting at Baseline Studios in New York. While some saw this as strengthening his almost mythical presence for me it made a teenager have to evaluate his loyalties. While Pac spoke to my pint size revolutionary spirit, Puffy and Biggie represented the fly lifestyle that I aspired to have.  Let’s be honest, as a 16 year old, I wasn’t ready to save the world. I wanted to “fuck bitches, get money”.

2Pac isn’t my goat and depending on my mood he may not even be Top 5. But his impact on rap music and my life is undeniable. “Me Against the World” is the 2Pac I loved – this was the erratic writing Pac that I loved. He was angry, he was social, he was positive, he reminisced, and he checked every box and did it in a classic fashion. While “All Eyez on Me” was uneven because of its length, “Me Against The World” capitalized on brevity and quality.

He’s a convicted sex offender, philanderer, drug user and misanthrope. He’s also a creative savant who knew how to use his voice to get the most effect. He’s your drunk uncle. The one who gives you sage advice in between chugging 2 40oz of Colt 45. He’s the perfect slice of Americana, the conflicted hero. It’s hard to separate the wisdom of his words from the vileness of his actions. We have done that with many of our heroes and it makes no sense why he is no different. 2Pac is bigger than Elvis – in every sense.  He is the music of Marvin Gaye mixed with the militancy of Huey Newton. If anything – Pac is Black America at its finest and lowest.

Coward. Punk. Front Runner. “Can’t beat em, join em”

These are all the things Kevin Durant heard last summer. People went as far as questioning his competitive spirit and even his manhood. Why would KD do something like that? It’s something so Anti-Jordan, it’s so, so, LeBron. The fact of the matter is KD saw the landscape of the NBA. In order for OKC to be competitive in the upcoming years after him and Russ signing extension is that they need one more player. Preferably a stretch 4 or a real 2 Guard. Neither of those types of players were coming to that market. Could they convince Paul George to come OKC, not likely. Could they make a move for DeMarcus Cousins? They really didn’t have the pieces to pull a trade like that off. If you step back and look at the Thunder, they are who they are for the foreseeable future. The roster as designed cannot beat the Warriors and would not be able to beat the Cavs in a 7-game series. 

If you want to win what do you do? You go someplace where you can win. Using that as qualification there are only a couple teams that are seriously competing for championship: Golden State, Cleveland, San Antonio, Clippers. Everyone else are pretenders or more than one player away. If he is seriously about winning a championship where else can he go? The choices were limited. Either he wants to win or he wants to look like he wants to. So, he leaves and is in The NBA Finals for the 2nd Time in career and is playing out of his mind. 

As great as players as Steph and Kyrie are there is a huge gap between them and KD and LeBron. It’s like watching Superman and Darkseid battle in the air while Batman is solving The Ridder’s puzzles in Gotham City. There is just a chasm of greatness separating those two sets of players. While both sets have played great  (kyrie not really…yet) — KD and LeBron are in another stratosphere. As of this posting Golden State is up 2-0 and Cleveland is looking completely overmatched. But to the Cavs defense — we’ve heard this song before, twice actually. 

The series doesn’t begin until the home team loses. It’s cliché but it’s true. This Finals series is about Legacy for LeBron, Steph and especially Kevin Durant.  While he is known as a scorer his defense has been what’s been on center stage this series. He finished Game 2 with 5 blocks and had to play the 4 and 5 during the 2nd half because of Draymond Green’s foul trouble. While he struggles with cool nicknames (The Servant bruh, glad that one didn’t stick) he is not struggling with the lights of competing for a championship. While there will be, naysayers — his Finals performance is proving he is right where he belongs; On the big stage, with the biggest name, competing for the biggest prize. 

 

Few question the valor of those who serve in the military. Even those who disagree with American foreign policy recognize that soldiers don’t have the luxury of choosing their missions. As such, for having the guts to risk the ultimate sacrifice for their country, they are held in high esteem.

Similarly, no one can question another’s personal truth – including what it means to those who carry the weight of combat experience.

I spoke recently with a friend, a veteran who saw action overseas, who knows first-hand that freedom isn’t free. The cliché, rooted in truth as commonly understood, has unique significance for him.

This man, who we’ll call Mikey, recently completed serving a two year sentence in state prison for growing and distributing marijuana. But he didn’t walk out before he stood up in a courtroom and diagnosed the brutal reality of a paradox in plain view. His conclusion left the courtroom stunned.

“The government sent me halfway around the world,” Mikey said. “Carrying a gun for them, I was considered a hero. Then I grew marijuana. And the government kicked my door in and locked me up. If you had told me when I was nine years old, that one day I would have two jobs – one where I shot human beings that never killed anyone, and another one where I grew a plant that has never killed anyone – and the second one would make me a criminal, I would have told you that you were crazy.”

The judge nodded. Others in attendance cried. In the collective silence, there was agreement: It was crazy.

As Mikey put it, he was “ahead of his time” in North Carolina, where marijuana is illegal for any purpose. Yet one in five Americans now live in a state where marijuana is legal. A clear majority of Americans favor legalization for recreational use and even more favor legalization of marijuana for medical use. The only real question is when, not if, marijuana will be legalized from coast to coast.

Beyond the legal context, another aggravating factor was tougher to stomach. Mikey said he was conflicted about the rationale for his incarceration in contrast to many of those around him.

“Some of these guys had done bad things – hurt people, killed people,” Mikey recalled. “But for some of them, they had this sense of peace about being locked up. They accepted that they were being punished for something they knew was wrong.”

Lying down to go to sleep each night on a thin mattress in a metal bunk, Mikey could find no such comfort.

“I still stand strong with love in my heart,” he announced in his first social media post after being released. “I’m still not sorry. At all.”

Why did the raid of a Republican consulting firm with ties to former Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort take place on Friday afternoon? Because the night before the President went on television to volunteer a sterling case against himself for obstruction of justice in the Russia scandal.

Since then, many have noted a marked shift in mainstream media coverage: From language describing the investigation in terms of intelligence-gathering to framing it in terms of eventual criminal prosecution.

“The FBI has started pulling that string,” said former Republican Congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. “And they are still pulling that string where it leads is not just an election issue, it is a criminal issue – and Trump knows that.”

Contrary to the President’s hopes, Comey’s dismissal has actually propelled the investigation into its next phase – publicly, at least. It had already been confirmed that grand juries have been impaneled to consider evidence related to the investigation. And there are as-yet unconfirmed reports that those grand juries have generated dozens of indictments under seal with many more to come.

Sources outside the traditional media – most notably Louise Mensch, a conservative former British Member of Parliament now working as an independent journalist in New York – have been ahead of the curve on Trump-Russia. It was Mensch who broke the FISA warrant story just days before the November election. That information was eventually corroborated by mainstream media reports but not formally confirmed until Comey testified publicly in March.

The same day the FBI descended on the office of the GOP consulting firm, Mensch reported the existence of a New York state-level racketeering and corruption (RICO) case against the Republican Party. The raid was coordinated between the FBI and the Eastern Virginia District Court of Virginia, overseen by Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are conducting their own investigations into Trump campaign associates’ business dealings.

Like any criminal investigation, to topple powerful people – especially in the highest positions of government – even overwhelming evidence may be insufficient to get convictions. To take down the big game requires nailing lower-level actors and flipping them to work up the food chain. And when the threat of executive power looms, the order of operations and inter-agency coordination becomes even more essential.

Also vital is a critical mass of public pressure on the Republicans to place country before party. For that to happen, a scandal that is complex and hard to understand needs to be distilled into a plot busy people can readily follow. Reagan never went down in the Iran-Contra affair for many reasons, but a major one is that the public never quite knew who did what wrong.

Two years ago, in covering the “Bridgegate” scandal that embroiled Chris Christie and his associates, the New York Times’ Jim Dwyer quoted the Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Aregood in citing a basic law of politics that the New Jersey Governor violated:

“Never do anything crooked or evil that the average person can understand.”

By going on camera and bragging he canned Comey because the Russia investigation was based on a “made-up story,” Trump not only violated a basic law of politics, he confessed to violating the law of the land. He will learn in disgrace, as Richard Nixon did, that he is not above it.

In case you forgot, on June 25th 2009 the dancing machine who re-invented entertainment, Michael Jackson, died. 3 days later, during the red-carpet pre-show of the BET Awards, CNN’s Don Lemon briefly interviewed Joe Jackson, Michael’s father. In a matter of minutes Joe Jackson confirmed, to the 10 million plus tuned in, how self-centered he is.

The second question Lemon asked Joe Jackson during the interview was, “The last couple of days, I know it’s been really tough for you guys?”

Joe Jackson replied with one word, coldly he said, “And.”

His reply shocked no one familiar with the Jackson family saga, but with each subsequent question Joe Jackson continued to show his egocentrism.

Lemon continued by asking Joe Jackson, “Is there anything you would like to share with the world about your son and about his legacy?”

Joe Jackson responded to this question by calling on a publicist to read a statement prepared for Joe Jackson and the Jackson family. The moment was awkward, and begged the question, why would a father need to have prepared statement to address the love he had for his son, and the impact his son had on the world?

Further into the interview Lemon asks Joe Jackson, “Do you know anything, Mr. Jackson about funeral arrangements?”

Joe Jackson replied, “Not yet we haven’t gotten to that yet,” and without pause he introduces Don Lemon to his business partner, Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites, to gleefully promote his record company, Ranch Records. It was an ego moment reminiscent of the chip on Kanye West’s shoulder.

On April 30th 2017, ESPN senior writer Darren Rovell reported that the three major shoe brands, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour who traditionally compete for top NBA prospects to endorse their products, would not be offering an endorsement deal to UCLA star, and the #1 or #2 overall projected prospect in the 2017 NBA draft, Lonzo Ball. As unlikely as it is for a superstar College Basketball player destined to be one of the top two picks in the NBA draft to not be offered an endorsement deal by the big three shoe companies, the reason why, is equally perplexing.

It’s because of Lonzo Ball’s father LaVar Ball, the Joe Jackson of Basketball. Rovell quotes Lavar Ball in his ESPN article as having said, “We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal, we’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

Now that’s ego. A really big ego. A Joe Jacksonesque ego.

LaVar Ball in several media appearances has promoted his Big Baller Brand, an athletic apparel company, he hopes will become a household name like the Jordan brand. LaVar Ball’s attempt to leverage his son’s college basketball success into a profitable brand that will inevitably benefit himself and his family isn’t ridiculous in theory. However, when you consider that Lonzo Ball hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA it’s clear how foolish and costly LaVar Ball’s egocentrism has already been to Lonzo Ball.

Last year’s #1 NBA draft pick Ben Simmons received a 5 year $20 Million dollar endorsement deal with Nike, according to USA Today. On May 4th 2017, LaVar Ball and his Big Baller Brand debuted Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe the ZO2 Prime with a price tag of $495. A pair of Nike Air Jordan’s have never been released with a price tag of $495, and Michael Jordan is universally recognized as the greatest basketball player ever. In addition, Big Baller Brand would have to sell more than 40 thousand ZO2’s to equal Ben Simmons endorsement deal with Nike, and that is highly unlikely, especially if you’re in it alone. Lonzo can thank LaVar’s ego for that.

The only thing LaVar Ball’s egocentrism has succeeded in doing thus far is making his son Lonzo Ball’s transition from College basketball player to professional basketball player more difficult than it already is. Lonzo Ball is already a pariah before his new unknown teammates get the chance to meet him.

When LaVar Ball makes such outlandish statements as, he can beat Michael Jordan because Jordan would have been to slow and too small to guard him one on one, or when he says his son (Lonzo Ball) will be better than Magic Johnson, and that his son (Lonzo Ball) is already better than future Hall of Famer Steph Curry, that’s barbershop dialogue. Those statements are not meant to be taken seriously. However, when Lavar Ball makes those statements in an interview or via twitter they get him the attention his ego craves. It is a masterful deployment of the Kardashian business model, always seek the spotlight, watch the dummies follow, and laugh all the way to the bank.

What isn’t funny, however is when others pay the price for Lavar Ball’s ego.

Stephan Gilling was the head basketball coach at Chino Hills High School were LaMelo and LiAngleo Ball, LaVar’s other sons, played this past season. Gilling lead the school to a 30-3 record in his first year, but despite their success Gilling was fired. Gilling’s crime is believed to have been an ongoing feud with LaVar Ball.

Gilling through a twitter video, as reported by For The Win of USA Today Sports, announced his relief in being fired from his position at Chino Hill High School on April 29th 2017. When someone, anyone, announces relief at losing their source of income that means that particular source of income cost more than it was worth.

For The Win reports that Gilling and LaVar Ball’s relationship went sour during the Tarkanian Classic Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas in December 2016. Chino Hills was playing Roosevelt High, and by halftime they were down by 12. At halftime, Gilling instructed his players to stop double teaming Roosevelt’s shooters and to stay in man-to-man defense in the second half, the report says.

His players listened and won the game 76-68, but during the entire second half of that game, For The Win reports, Lavar Ball kept yelling for Chino Hills players to double team Roosevelt from the stands contradicting Gilling’s instructions.

In line with his egocentrism, Lavar Ball following the victory over Roosevelt, as reported by For The Win, was upset and confronted coach Gilling for instructing his team against Ball’s wishes. Gilling replied that he was doing what was necessary to win the game, which they did, but that explanation wasn’t sufficient for LaVar Ball who then headed into the Chino Hills locker room, after Gilling asked him not to.

Gilling requested that LaVar Ball leave the team locker room, and Ball refused, as reported by For The Win. Gilling was forced to have the team leave the locker room, and head back to the hotel, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball were the only players who didn’t follow the coach back to the team’s hotel at that time.

The report by For the Win also goes on to detail how LaVar Ball, after the locker room incident, went to the hotel and talked to the team on the 18th floor and advised them that he was running things and not Coach Gilling.

For the Win writer Andrew Joseph quotes Coach Gilling describing the after-tournament hotel incident this way, “An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up, I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’”

That is ego. A really big ego, especially considering LaVar Ball averaged a measly two points in College during his playing days.

Joseph goes on in his report to quote Coach Gilling as saying the following regarding the team chemistry after the hotel incident, “So, throughout the rest of the year, we had games that I would not talk to them (LaMelo and LiAngelo), The kids looked at me different. Not all of them, but some. They understood and knew they were caught in the middle of it all. It was sad for the kids because it was from that point on that they didn’t know who to listen to. It was also noticeable that things were being said at home, and brought back to the gym in a way of, like, they’re not listening to the coaches.”

To be clear I am not critiquing LaVar Ball for wanting the best for his son’s or being involved in their lives, and nobody should have an issue with LaVar Ball encouraging or even requiring his sons to work hard, and protecting them from the inevitable collegiate and professional vultures who will pick their carcass bare if not checked, but clearly LaVar Ball has reached a point where what he is doing is no longer about LaMelo, LiAngelo, and Lonzo Ball. Through his actions, not just his cartoonish proclamations, LaVar has most assuredly scorched bridges his sons have yet to cross.

LaVar Ball through his actions is going to force, LaMelo, LiAngelo, and Lonzo Ball to muster the will to write LaVar out of their lives. The same way Michael Jackson, because of his father’s actions, wrote Joe Jackson out of his will.

If, and I believe most likely when, that happens, LaVar Ball will become an opponent to his son’s, an opponent they can’t afford to lose too, because it will mean the end of their careers, and could potentially jeopardize the families they will eventually develop for themselves.

It is at that point LaVar Ball will be left with his ego, him and his ego, his really big Joe Jacksonesque ego.

 

You can find Deonte’s Podcast on Youtube: Run It Back Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody. Minorities. LGBTQ. Elmo. Poor Christians. Ja Rule. Females. Bobby Brown. Poor people in general. The list is really exhaustive.

Let’s start with the facts the ‘repeal’ of Obamacare is not a health care plan. It’s a tax plan. That’s one of the few things that both sides can truly agree on — this has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with cutting taxes for the wealthiest 1%. The problem with the GOPs tax plan is that they went out of their way to screw the majority of their constituents. Luckily for them their constituents are one issue voters (abortion) so if they lose their coverage or if it skyrockets it doesn’t matter because Emperor Orange and inept merry men will eventually strike down Roe v. Wade.

Spoiler alert — It’s not happening.

The issue with health care is one of the few things in America that transcends race and cuts to the heart of America’s problem — class. I’m lucky enough to work for a large company and my premiums hasn’t really been impacted except for small increases but that’s to be expected. I have friends that opt to roll the dice with their health because they can’t afford coverage. The problem with the whole health care discussion is it was dishonest from the onset. This battle had nothing to do with coverage for Americans.

It had EVERYTHING to do with President Obama’s legacy. The administration is doing a systematic dismantling of it. This is what happens when the dumb rich kid wins.

It’s exhausting. That’s the goal of the administration exhaust the smart people so they stop caring. Nah B, I’ll pass.

 

PS. Outside of passing the HOUSE — Obamacare has not been repealed. Our president failed Civics and keeps forgetting that the bill needs to go to the Senate. But let’s not stop the victory lap.

 

This the ministry of street energy /The church of criminology, teaching my chemistries/Woo I’m the L. Ron Hubbard of the cupboard

Facts are facts. Deal with it. Not Kendrick. Not J Cole. Not Lupe. And damn sure not Drake.

The greatest rapper alive post 2002 is Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton. If you’re real with yourself you know he transcends any of his peers and it’s not even as close as you think.

He has given us the career that Andre 3 Stacks and Phonte wouldn’t. He has exceeded all expectations after splitting from a legendary group. Honestly, since The Clipse ended — he has gotten better. One of the few rappers that revel in being the bad guy. The character that doesn’t have any remorse for his sins and takes drug dealer braggadocio to another level. That is what makes his bars appealing. The drug dealer rapper is not a novel concept. He’s the conscienceless hustler that weaves heroin laced tales with dramatic imagery and sly wit.

There was this moment on “Fear of God” when I was listening to ‘Alone in Vegas” and I knew he was the best rapper on the planet and he was coming to prove it. This couplet “The self-righteous drug dealer dichotomy/I’m drawing from both sides, I am Siamese” is so profound especially if know the history and present of the Clipse and his relationship with this brother. While a part of him wants to be like No Malice and talk about the lighter side of life, he also knows that no one does this coke talk better than him so he voices the internal struggle.

Who else would use their songs co-star as a call to arms against fraudulent drug dealer rappers as he did to Rick Ross on “Hold On”? On the same album he flips the script and talks about the choices hustlers makes when they get caught on “SNITCH”. The way he weaves a tale that was happening in real-time into one of the strongest songs on the album.

When you look at “Darkest Before Dawn” everything from beat selection to his lyrics were built to make a mood. He wanted a modern dark album in the vein of Mobb Deep’s “Hell on Earth” where the depth of album aurally surrounds you. Even through the darkness he’s able to make records like “MFTR”  and “MPA”. Both songs tackling light subjects but Pusha’s pen game makes it sound profoundly ill.

Pusha T is a rappers rapper. He takes seriously the mantra of no lines off. The lines that he uses to set up punchlines aren’t throwaway — they add to the image he’s painting. Check the catalogue. “My Name is My Name” is a classic. “Darkness Before Dawn” is a ridiculously dope project. Loosies like “HGTV” and “Lunch Money” are just bangers.

So why won’t you give Pusha T his due? Because all he raps about is drugs?  Really? He’s so materialistic. Really? The question should always be — Can he rap? Does he rap well?  The answer to those are a resounding Yes. Pusha T is the greatest of his generation because he embraces an image in his rhymes that makes people uneasy. He’s drug dealer turned good but still revels in his past — because he’s comfortable enough admitting that its was fun. It’s not full of remorse of lost friends it’s him reflecting on the good times. Now he’s got legal money to floss in your face and he’s always talking about fly shit. Now that’s a bad thing? Ughk!

 

 

 

We have all heard of the 5 stages of grief and loss.  Some of us may even be familiar with the stages set forth by the Kubler-Ross Model.  What the model tells us is that there are 5 stages a person may go through when they have had a great loss.  The loss could be of a loved one or even of the loss of a dream.  These here United States of America were predicated on a dream.  Since the formation of this great country, there have been several dreams and there is room for them all.  This land is your land, this land is my land….

There may be need for a quick history lesson here…

This land was taken from the Natives, and because of that, everyone else was therefore, an immigrant.

That’s the end of the lesson which of course brings us to the first stage of grief or loss.  It’s important to realize that not everyone will go through all the stages when experiencing a loss.  For everyone it is a deeply personal journey.  Stage one is denial and isolation.

  1. For 8 years, our country was being run by a man that was greatly opposed by most of this country’s political figures.

This time, could, for some be considered the first step in the process of grief.  Regardless, he could make grand moves, even in the wake of all his opposition.  This everyday man, did not buckle under the immense job with which he was tasked.  That, in and of itself says a lot of his character.  Obviously, this was not a time for mourning as much as jubilation.

 

  1. Then roughly, 2 years before the end of that man’s 2nd term, emerged an unlikely candidate (2 depending on whom the question is asked). To most it seemed a rouse that this billionaire businessman would become president. I mean he had the ideas of a person that had yet to join us in these days and times. His ideas were set in the 40’s, the 1740’s for goodness’ sake. Yet, he would emerge as the victor of this battle.

November 8th, 2016 will go down in history as the day that a collective, soul-wrenching, heartbreaking sob could be heard around the globe.  The blogosphere went crazy with sincere notes of condolences for the greatest country in the world.  For many a preliminary mourning would begin. January 20th, 2017, grief became the new anthem for our country.  It showed in the dismal attendance for the inauguration to the many, many memes that would pop up on everyone’s timelines.

Within 48 hours, the new leader of the free world, would cement his place in history as the grim reaper for many of the ideas set forth by his predecessors. Enter the real beginning of the first stage of denial. Of course, there will never be 100% of the whole country that will agree or disagree but those on each side have drawn a clear line in the proverbial sand.  An extremely large group of our country and in other countries, have clearly begun the dissent into grieving.

Several people have yet to and have vowed to never refer to the seated president as president.  There is also a group that refer to his predecessor as their always president. This is clearly a country that is grieving for either the loss of the previous president or for the fact that the current president has taken away the security that was once taken for granted and considered a guarantee.  I am not sure how long the stage of denial will continue for those going through the mourning. For some, this may be the longest stage as there are so many that have chosen to either act as if life hasn’t changed or for those that have chosen to ignore and live in an ignorant bliss.  Where ever you may stand, the view is clear that what once was is slowly no longer and grief is new normal.  A country in mourning….

Truth be told — I’m the epitome of a sideline revolutionary. I make many bombastic statements online and in conversation but my Jordan’s aren’t on the ground and in the marches. I’m sitting on the sideline of history and watching the power of social media unfold into real world discussions and hopefully solutions. In Trump’s America, the screams must become louder that we and all minorities matter. BlackLivesMatter should transcend hashtags and become political agents. Conservatives mostly treat us a monolithic crime ridden community that needs to be extinguished from the planet and Democrats view us as a walking bank for there political contributions (i.e votes because collectively we don’t have wealth) to keep them in what little power they have left. Black’s in America are finding themselves in this political limbo that middle class uneducated whites found themselves in the beginning of the Obama years. The main difference is their limbo was self-imposed due to the systematic fail safes that is in American society. Enter #BlackLivesMatter. After the death of Trayvon Martin a viral hashtag created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometti, and Patrise Cullors moved people to action. Any discussion about #BLM that does not begin with those women is not an honest discussion about #BLM.

What is Black Lives Matter really? I think it’s best for them to explain it in their own words

The problem with the above is that they never got enough of an opportunity to tell that story. Now there could be many reasons for that — the viral rise of the movement, the media butchering the message, and even to the detriment of BLM, not having a centralized/standard voice for the movement which lent itself to interpretation.

This is why #BLM is not the political force the Tea Party was when the political climate shifted. Unfortunately, they played a lot of defense early on by responding to negative stories in the conservative media. They allowed their movement to be co-opted by police officers and out of touch color blind whites with Blue/All Lives matter ‘movements’. The interesting thing about those ‘movements’ is that is exactly what America is built upon stealing/co-opting a black struggle — change it, make palatable for whites and immediately disregard said struggle which birthed it.

There is even confusion between what is a legitimate chapter of BLM which continues to add to the confusion.

The question always is always asked ‘what can I do?” From an outsider’s observation — there’s a lot you can do. One major thing is try to find your local BLM chapter and engage with them. Create a plan for yourself/family in what’s the best way to get involved. Ask people who are on the ground what their needs are.

Before you assume #BLM is just an excuse for black people to physically and emotionally beat on white people (oh the horror) understand that is not what BLM stands for. BLM is a voice for black  and other marginalized populations — not the voice — but a voice. It’s a voice that is severely needed. There is a need to figure out a way to move the energy from demonstrations to political capital. The first round of mid-terms is coming up in under 2 years. They need to continue to have the image of BLM evolve so that true political allies can evoke their name publicly and align with the visions. Black Lives Matter should be meeting with political operatives to increase their political voice to influence change. Start locally — one school board at a time, one sheriff’s race at a time. As a people, we should be more than picket signs, marches and RIP hashtags.