Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Activists Take it to the Streets of Atlanta in Response to Zimmerman's "Not Guilty" Verdict

Last night's rally and march through downtown Atlanta was monumental, to say the least. Having been raised by a father who was an ex-Black Panther, I've listened to stories about "Black Power" and the 1963 March on Washington all my life, and longed for the day when my generation would finally get mad enough to stand up, and remain standing. I believe the time has finally come...

Spawned by George Zimmerman's "not guilty" verdict in the nationally publicized Trayvon Martin case, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Atlanta University Center (AUC), the world's largest consortium of African American institutions of higher learning, to stand in solidarity against the system of injustice that continues to wreak havoc on our communities across the nation. The crowd continued to grow as we listened to several religious leaders from the community and a few words from hip-hop artist Lil' Scrappy (don't ask me why..I still don't know what he said lol). I'm not sure who coordinated the speaker line-up, but I couldn't help but think to myself that there MUST be some real revolutionary leaders somewhere in Atlanta other than preachers whose accolades do not expand beyond having "worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." in some obscure way -_- This is not to negate the value of the work they do (whatever that might be), but their antiquated messages of "join my church" and "I did something great 40+ years ago" seemed to fall on deaf ears. So I was pleasantly surprised when a young sister from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement rendered a powerful speech encouraging African Americans to stand together to rebuild our communities by implementing systems that counteract those which continue to fail us. The passion and conviction with which she spoke served as fuel (not that we needed any) for the 3 mile trek to the CNN Center.
There really aren't any words to describe what happened next..I've been an activist for almost 10 years, and I have never experienced the type of synergy that was created in Atlanta and across America following this controversial case. I cannot count the number of times my White activist friends have asked me why more Black people won't get involved. (The sociology of this issue is so deep. I'll save that for another blog). However, it was an honor to walk with my brothers and sisters (White, Black, & Latino) in a oneness that many of us have never known. I even took my entire tribe (yes, all 6 kids & now I need a spa day). As we were leaving, my 6yr old said, "I wish we could get justice for real" as if marching through the streets pumping her fists and screaming "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE!" was not real justice. Hmmm??? Nevertheless, we stood up! And we're still standing! Now let's put our hands to the W-O-R-K! Let the organizing begin for some and continue for others. As the matrix said: We're all here to do, what we're all here to do. So whatever that is for you...get to it!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Comedian Ebony Knight & ATL Artists BLAST OFF at Apache Cafe!

Actors, rappers, vocalists, models, and designers were amongst the artists/entertainers who filled Apache Cafe this past Saturday to showcase their talents at Blast Off 10. Known as one of Atlanta's hottest venues, Apache Cafe really began to heat up as the anxiously-waiting audience filled the room with anticipation and the backstage area filled with the passion of young artists with serious hustle (like Money Team Magazine). I had the pleasure of meeting up-and-coming designer, C.Denim, hailing from the City of Brotherly Love~bringing some of that Philly-Fresh flavor to Hotlanta! After speaking with his business manager, Jessica, for just a few minutes, I became certain that it's only a matter of time until we start hearing a lot more about this fierce group of entrepreneurs...

Speaking of flavor...this show was full of variety! I've gotta give a special shout-out to +stepBoi CMC theSouthSideSickest for reppin' the Southside well! Despite the Facebook page which purports that "Eminem will always be the only good white rapper" (and has approximately 45,000 likes), StepBoi is one white rapper who will make you say "Eminem who?!" In two words: authentic and raw! I've been bumpin' his CD in my Yukon all week! #gettin2old4disshit

True activists to our core, fellow +Peachtree NORML associate and I, Vincent Cheeks (a.k.a. Ghetto Messiah), tagged-teamed to raise awareness and get signatures for our petition.Vince was SUPER busy that night~coordinating, emceeing the show with the lovely Alia Love, and oozing southern charm the entire time! Great job, Vince!

There were too many great artists to name them all, but I can't neglect to mention Ebony Rose and the Black Rose Band...this band tore the roof off! They not only rocked the mic~they rocked the HOUSE with an eclectic sound the world is waiting for! They took us to c-h-u-r-c-h (in the most nonreligious way possible)!
Lol! Real talk~this incredible sound was so mesmerizing that I couldn't leave until they were off the stage.They truly took the entire show to a different dimension. Keep up the great work!

Many thanks to Kim Gee of  Vintage Entertainment Group and +Derek Peacock for their hard work and dedication that made this show a huge success!

Photo credits: HisImagery