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Power To Change It All

Power To Change It All

A new release from an up and coming hip hop artist/producer adds a much needed soundtrack to the new-found activism that is energizing young men and women of color. The song is “Power” and the artist’s name is Rell. He gave me an interview and allowed Socially Urban to debut the new song and video. The full interview can be read below the video.

Thanks for sitting down with us. What inspired the song “Power” and what message were you hoping to get across with it?

“My inspiration came from seeing how with this new government is running things and giving those who still live on and believe in racial inequality the green light to exhibit racial and bigoted behavior without any consequences.”

“I’m trying to get across to the black and brown culture that we have the ability to change this all. We have the numbers, the platforms and the influence but we have to come together with unity and educate our youth since they are our future lawyers, doctors, judges and politicians.

The lyrics in the hook says “you have the power to change it all”. Is that message specifically for the youth of today? If so how hopeful are you that the new generation can change it all?

“That’s exactly what I was referring to. The younger generations are more inclusive and accepting of all regardless of Race, Religion, or Sexual Orientation. With hearts and minds like that, they are the answer to making the old, racist raised bigots in charge extinct.”

It’s pretty incredible that you did all of this yourself, and I think the finished product is impressive. How long did it take to write record and shoot a full video for this song?

“Thanks, I really appreciate you acknowledging the process and what it takes. I’m actually a certified audio engineer by way of Omega Studios School of Recording Arts and Sciences in Rockville, MD and I’ve been producing music since about 2003. I’ve always been a lyricist at heart ever since I can remember. Me and my cousin wrote our first song somewhere around the age of 8 or 9 I think. What’s crazy is I still remember my verse. It took me about 3 days to actually write “Power”. I’ve had the beat for a while but the vibe hit me only recently. I shot and edited the video in one day. All i had was a black backdrop, iMovie, DSLR camera and a vision. My cousin has always been my drive and motivation to continue my music journey. He was the first person to put me in a professional studio and ever since then I’ve been hooked and forever grateful. I’m attending Full Sail University now to get my Bachelors in Music to close the loop and become a triple threat in the music industry.”

I think this kind of music is very much in need right now in this racially charged political environment. When can we expect a full album like this from you?

“I’m looking to drop an album around the 4th quarter this year. Hopefully around August or September at the latest.”

 

I’d like to thank Rell for letting us debut his new video and letting us ask him a few questions. You can follow Rell at www.twitter.com/RellDaProducer and www.instagram.com/RellDaProducer to get updates on his new material.

FACT Trump Is A Racist

While meeting with lawmakers to discuss an immigration deal, President Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He made this comment referring to people from African countries and people from the island nation of Haiti. He went on to ask “why can’t we have more people from Norway” instead of immigrants from countries populated by black and Hispanic people. A few weeks ago President Trump said in a staff meeting about immigration that “all Hatians have AIDS”, and once African immigrants get to the United States “we’ll never be able to convince them to go back to their huts”. 

These comments from the president aren’t very surprising to anyone who has paid attention to his statements and actions over the course of his life and career in the public eye. He has a long history of making racist statements and incorporating his racist world view in his business dealings. For example refusing to rent apartments to black people in New York. Telling the manager of his casino to put black and Hispanic employees in the kitchen because he didn’t want them seen on the floor. Panicking after a visit to the office of his accountant when he saw a black accountant preparing his taxes. He told the manager that he only wanted Jewish people working on his financials. There are a lot of stories like this (that have been verified in discrimination lawsuits and deposition testimony) about Trump. 

I’m highlighting these examples because I know there’s a segment of the population here in the U.S. who will defend him without knowing his history. Ignorance is never a defense but I do feel that those who know his history but still comes to his defense like some of Trump’s republican colleagues did yesterday, there’s a special place in hell for those people. One congressman said that it was ok for Trump to say what he said about preferring white Norwegian immigrants over black immigrants because Trump was voicing an opinion that a lot of Americans happen to share. Even if that were true, I fail to see how that makes it ok. How does the popularity of a comment decide it’s moral value? During the civil rights movement most white Americans wanted to maintain the status quo where blacks were discriminated against and considered second class citizens by law. But president Kennedy and some allies in congress saw that the popular opinion was wrong and morally reprehensible. They knew passing the civil rights act would probably end their chances of getting re-elected, but did it anyway (thanks to leaders like MLK who organized a movement that wouldn’t allow men of conscience to ignore the state of the oppressed). 

Real leaders are supposed to lead. Presidents are supposed to be aspirational. They are supposed to project a vision that gives everyone something to aspire to. They are supposed to show us how we could be better as a country. Former President Barack Obama understood this and you could tell it was genuine because it influenced every decision he made as president. Almost to a fault he believed Americans were inherently good people whose sense of right and wrong would always move us further if presented with a choice. Our current president has a much darker view. His stated goal to “make America great again” involves taking us back to a time before the civil rights movement. He sees America as a white country with black and brown usurpers that should never have been.given equal rights. His every statement and action as president shows an intention to undo that. Those who run to his defense are showing us their intent to help him reach that goal. Trump and his apologists are mainstreaming white supremacy. 

Mainstream media have been very hesitant to call Trump a racist even though the evidence continues to mount. Yes, Trump is indeed a racist but I believe the annals of history will go one step further and call him what he really is, which is a white supremacist. His defenders need to decide if that’s a title they would like to be associated with, because that’s the way history will remember them as well. 

Charlottesville Reality

Charlottesville Reality

Everyone has seen the awful events that took place in Charlottesville Virginia (8/12/17). Neo-Nazi, anti-semitic, alt-right racist planned an attack on our country and carried it out. Lives were lost, people were injured, and those of us who watched these things happen on the news were horrified. Our president Donald Trump made a statement immediately after the attacks and refused to call these attacks terrorism and refused to denounce the alt-right white supremacists by name. Some people were shocked by his comments, and a lot of people are still hoping he will denounce these hate groups by name. I do not share this hope. I am happy he didn’t denounce these hate groups, and here’s why.

President Trump hired a leader in the alt-right white supremacist movement and made him a senior advisor (Steve Bannon). There are many more like Steve Bannon who work in Trump’s administration with very close ties to hate groups and a well documented history of their racist beliefs. Most of the people who consider themselves a part of Trump’s base are well aware of the people Trump has chosen to surround himself with. They are aware of Trump’s racist well established world view (Central Park 5, housing discrimination, birtherism, Islamophobia, staffing choices in his casinos and hotels, encouraging police brutality, Judge Curiel, etc).

Charlottesville Reality

They got an earful of it at every Trump rally. The nastier the rhetoric, the louder they cheered. He didn’t try to hide his racist views so it always puzzled me why establishment Republicans believed this was an act that would go away after he took the oath of office. As if putting his hand on the Bible would change the ways of a 70 year old man.

This is why I believe his supporters who are holding out hope that he’ll make another statement with a more forceful unequivocal denunciation of the neo-Nazi white supremacist hate groups, aren’t really hoping he has seen the error in his beliefs and the hate in his heart. What they are hoping for is plausible deniability. They want to pretend they are unaware of Trump’s bigoted views. They want to pretend their support of him has nothing to do with him being a racist. They want to continue ignoring the background of his advisors. They want to continue to believe that his win in 2016 had nothing to do with race. They want to continue to believe that political correctness and not race are the real problems we’re facing right now. Events like Charlottesville rips away that cover. President Trump’s non-denouncement of specific hate groups that took the lives of Americans shines a light on something that was there all along. We have a racist president with racist views who will always sympathize with people and groups who have beliefs similar to his own.

That’s why I hope he doesn’t try to walk-back his statement about “hate on both sides”. From this point on, his supporters must be honest about why they thought he would “make America great again”. Or at the very least stop acting surprised and outraged at his behavior whenever that shield of deniability slips and gives us another peek at the bigot behind it. #Charlottesville #altRightWhiteHouse #SociallyUrban

Game Of Thrones Change

HBO’s biggest hit Game of Thrones just debuted the first episode of their 7th season this past Sunday.  I was a huge fan of the show from the very start.  I was hooked from the very beginning way back in 2011.  Before watching that first episode I hadn’t even heard of the book series.  I was a Game of Thrones newbie totally unaware of all the major plot twist, scandalous palace intrigue, and jaw-dropping cliffhangers.  Given how popular the books were I’m shocked I’ve managed to avoid spoilers (knock on wood).  For those who are loyal readers of my blog I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with politics.  This isn’t a review of the series and I wouldn’t waste your time by posting a blog just to gush about how great Game of Thrones is.  For me writing helps organize my thoughts flesh out ideas and find meaning within that process.  That’s exactly what I’m doing with this post.

After watching the first episode of season 7 I decided to go back to season one and watch it from the very beginning to see things I missed and to help remember some of the things I had forgotten.

Game of thrones change

King Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark

When I got to episode 7 of season 1 where King Robert Baratheon gets fatally injured during a hunting trip and names Eddard Stark as his successor, I was shocked at how differently I viewed the actions of Stark now in 2017 than I did in 2011.

Stark was the moral, always do the right thing type of character who believed in honor and fairness. His unflinching morality blinded him to the snakes and backstabbers who we’re all around him. When he was advised to take action immediately and order the detention of the dead King’s son and the king’s conniving wife before they try to grab the throne, nobel intentioned Stark refused to take the advice. He thought a written and signed letter by the recently dead King naming him (Stark) as his successor was good enough to protect him and he’d take the throne with no problems.

Watching it in 2017 I thought to myself, what a naive idiot.  If he wasn’t willing to spill blood and use his power to imprison the conspirators, he doesn’t deserve to sit on the throne and rule the 7 kingdoms.  Then I remembered how much I liked his character when I first watched this episode in 2011. Game of Thrones changeI admired him for doing the right thing and not stooping to the level of the evil Lannisters.  Even though his inaction eventually lead to his death I respected his decisions.  After realizing how much my view of him changed I wanted to know why.  What happened between 2011 and 2017?  What caused such a dramatic shift?  Then it came to me. Politics.

In 2011 Barack Obama was president and I was very optimistic about the President’s agenda and his ability to enact the ideas he campaigned on.  A black family living in the White House was very inspirational to me.  Then 2016 happened and winter finally came.  Trump vs Hillary was the most negative, dirty, and divisive presidential campaign I have ever witnessed.  Trump’s message was ugly, disingenuous, unpresidential, narcissistic and at times blatantly racist.  The lower he sunk Republicans seemed to cheer even louder. I just knew Hillary would win.  I thought there was no way Americans would reward his lies and nastiness by giving him the White House.  After I was proven wrong I think I became a lot more cynical and pessimistic about everything. Not just in politics, I mean everything everything.  When you’re disillusioned in that way you have to rethink your worldview to make sense of it all.  That’s why my opinion of Eddard Stark’s character changed so much.

Who knows how much of this is temporary.  I’m hoping after Trump’s term is up, America will come to it’s senses and elect someone who’s qualified for the job with a working (and frequently consulted) moral compass. I hope it’s enough to restore my faith in humanity.  I’ll let you know in 2020 after I rewatch season 1 episode 7 of Game of Thrones sometime after the election.

…to be continued.

Truth And Patriotism

This truth and patriotism post is a discussion that took place on a forum I participated in. The fact that it took place on Independence Day was purely coincidental, but the unintended relevance of the holiday is the reason I decided to share it with you. This person’s comment I responded to was talking about his dislike of President Obama and what fueled that dislike. The screenshot is his comment and my response to him is below the screenshot.

Truth And Patriotism

I’m not challenging your assertion that President Obama’s race had nothing to do with your disagreements with him on policy. I don’t know you and I can’t see what’s in your head, so I’ll take your word on that. But I do have to challenge your assertion that our country was built on “self-pride, self-support, and self-respect”. That is definitely not true. This country was built on the blood of slaves and kept afloat with the generational subjugation and oppression of the offspring slavery produced. Jim Crow laws and legislation that purposely disenfranchised African-Americans created a system of government where African-Americans were free on paper but oppressed by law. To pretend those facts don’t exist does a disservice to history which dooms us to repeat those atrocities and blinds us to the inequalities that still exist.

I have no problem with displays of patriotism and those who take pride in the greatness of America. But I believe owning up to America’s shortcomings can be a form of patriotism where we can all marvel at and take pride in how far we’ve come. That’s exactly what the founding fathers meant when they wrote about forming a more perfect union in our Constitution. To do that we must acknowledge the past and never ever stop working to make things better for the next generation.

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

Impeach Trump NOW

We’re at the 56 day mark for President Trump’s first term in office. We all knew this wasn’t going to be a traditional presidency and from watching Trump during the campaign I knew he’d make a disastrous president but never in my wildest nightmares did I expect it to be this bad this soon. The incompetence, the secrecy, the mismanagement, the infighting, the irreverent disrespect of norms and tradition, the lack of leadership, the paranoia, the toxic relationship with the press, the nepotism, the staff’s lack of government experience, constant scandal after scandal, and worst of all the avalanche of lies from Trump and his administration that bombards us daily.

Never in our nations history have we had a president who lies so easily and then forces his staff to deal with the aftermath and clean up the mess he made. We’ve seen this play out over and over again with each new lie he tells. This damage control process has become very familiar to us:

When Trump sent that absurd untrue tweet 2 weeks ago accusing President Obama of committing a felony (wire tapping Trump Tower), and insulting President Obama by calling him “a sick guy” that should have been enough to get republicans to start questioning the President’s ability to serve his full term as President. How can they say their party believes in integrity, honesty, and leadership and still support Trump? If those values meant anything to them they would call a meeting with the democrats and hammer out a plan to remove this corrosive cancer who’s a bigger threat to our democracy than terrorism. Each day Trump is allowed to stay in office, he makes us weaker as a country.

We’re only 56 days in and Trump had to fire his National Security Adviser for lieing about his contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. His attorney General committed perjury during his Senate confirmation hearing and had to recuse himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials who hacked the DNC to help Trump win. Trump’s first military mission was a failure that led to the deaths of a US service member and an American little girl. When interviewed about the disastrous mission Trump didn’t take any responsibility at all as commander in chief. Instead he blamed his generals. His executive order that issued a travel ban targeting Muslim majority countries got smacked down by 3 different courts. He lied about winning the popular vote. Has his family sit in on meetings and takes a vacation to Palm Beach every weekend to play golf, which costs US taxpayers $3.5 million for each trip. And his healthcare bill will fail in the Senate.No to trump

I just don’t see how we can live with a president who lies compulsively, who’s under investigation for collusion with a foreign government, and thinks he can take every weekend off. He spends more time speaking at campaign style rallies, flying back and forth between DC and his properties and playing golf than he does in the white house workingfor the American people.

HEY PAUL RYAN AND MITCH MCCONNELL, please put what’s best for our country before your loyalty to your political party and tell Trump to resign or get impeached. We can’t have this kind of cahos and incompetence bringing us down for the next 4 years. The way things have been going is absolutely unsustainable.

Progressive Revolt

Since the election of Donald Trump democrats have found their voice, stiffened their spines and launched an unprecedented progressive revolt. We saw the first signs of how large this movement was during the women’s march in Washington DC on the weekend of Trump’s inauguration. Close to a million people showed up and dwarfed the crowd size of Trump’s inauguration supporters (which drove Trump absolutely crazy). People all over the country decided that Trump and his divisive, misogynistic, racist, Islamophobic, anti-intellectual brand of fascism can not be allowed to destroy this country. So of course the next logical step is to figure out how to successfully oppose him.

Progressive Revolt

Trump did win the electoral vote and therefore won the presidency. But a huge majority of voters voted for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump. She got 3 million more votes than him (which also drives him crazy). This means we are the majority and there are ways to stop his legislative agenda from being enacted. The Tea Party who strongly opposed President Obama was able to grind the gears that produced new legislation and approves presidental appointees to a hault even when democrats held power in both houses. The Tea Party did this with a very small number of activist and with ideas that were very unpopular with a majority of Americans. If they were able to do all of that with small numbers and unpopular beliefs, imagine what progressives can do with huge numbers and mainstream ideas that makes sense.

Two weeks of Trump in office has already produced an unprecedented number of scandals and disasters.

  • Broke his promise to “drain the swamp” and instead filled his cabinet with billionaires, former Goldman Sachs executives, and lobbiest.
  • Lied about the size of his inauguration crowd & ordered the US Parks Dept to produce a photo that makes his crowd look larger than the protest, which of course they couldn’t do because no such photo exist.
  • Made a narcissistic speech in front of a memorial wall that recognized slain CIA operatives.
  • Made ignorant racist comments about civil rights hero John Lewis and belittled his contributions to America.
  • Needlessly combative phone conversations with US allies & spent a large part of the conversations telling them how big his inauguration crowd was and how “bigly” his campaign win over Hilary was.
  • Threatened to send troops into Mexico.
  • Ordered his press secretary to give an angry scolding lecture to the press because they would not report his lie about how many atteneded his inauguration.
  • Barred all government agencies from communicating with the press and the legislature.
  • Launched a disastrous military mission which lead to the deaths of one US soldier, an American 8 year old little girl, a crashed military helicopter and at least 14 other civilian deaths which were mostly women and children. Inspite of all this Trump and his press secretary called the mission a success.
  • Signed an executive order banning entry into the United States for 8 Muslim majority countries without consulting any agency outside of the White House which lead to chaos and confusion at airports and a large number of unconstitutional detainments.
  • Fired acting Attorney General for not defending Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban / travel ban.
  • Added political strategist (and white supremacist) Steve Bannon as a permanent member of the National Security Council while removing the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff as permanent members.Trump &white supremacist Steve Bannon
  • Decided to make American tax payers pay for an unnecessary wall on our southern border instead of keeping his campaign promise to make Mexico pay for it.
  • Used his speech at the national prayer breakfast to talk about how huge his ratings were on his former reality tv show The Apprentice compared to the new host Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings.
  • Had General Flynn give a press conference to let Iran know we are “putting them on notice”, but did not explain what that meant and did not change our military posture. The White House didn’t even warn our military service members in the region that the “on notice” speech was coming.
  • Yes Donald Trump is President, but we need to recognize that his power as president is directly related to the amount of voices who stay silent.  If the size of the opposition so far is an indicator of the size of the opposition movement ahead, Trump and his party’s hold on power is a lot weaker than any president we’ve seen in recent history.  So don’t sit at home and live in fear of what might come next. Get involved!  Check out the links below and post any information you may have about ways to get involved in the comment section.

    Indivisible Action Guide Video

    http://www.indivisibleguide.com

    www.whatdoidoabouttrump.com

Save The ACA Save My Life

Now that Donald Trump is our new President and republicans have control over the house and the Senate, they are working to get rid of the Affordable Care Act even though they have not presented a replacement to the American people. They had 6 years to create an alternative but chose not to pursue it (which baffles me).

As a person living with a genetic blood disorder known as Sickle Cell I’m very afraid of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Having my life in the hands of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan isn’t a good feeling. Calling it anxiety would be an understatement. Without government run Healthcare there is no way I could afford to see my doctor. With Sickle Cell I have to get blood transfusions, outpatient IV treatments, blood labs every month, hospital stays when I have sickle cell pain crisis (that could last a few days or a few weeks), 4 different prescriptions that I have to fill each month and a lot of other health issues that arise from my weakened immune system. So for me this isn’t a political issue or a republican vs democrat issue. It’s literally a life vs death issue. Of course the ACA is not perfect by any means but I wish they could work on ways to improve it instead of a complete repel.

It seems like those who are in favor of a repel are the people who are lucky enough to have good health and the people who can afford to see a doctor and pay for their prescriptions with or without the ACA. I want those people to think about people like me and ask themselves what is the best solution for our entire population as a whole. Every American should have access to health care and every American deserves that right. Rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight EVERYONE!  No matter who you are, you deserve to have a healthy full life.  What kind of person looks at the sick and the poor as a burden?  That doesn’t sound like an exceptional unified and free country.  

If you agree please call your state representatives and let them know how you feel. Leave a messge if you can’t get an answer. If enough people call, it could save health care, and save millions of lives as well. When is the next time you’ll be able to save a life with a phone call? …Exactly!

Top Democrat trolls Trump via Spotify

The US Senate’s top Democrat has needled Donald Trump through a playlist on Spotify, selecting songs that pointedly question the president.Markin

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.dailymail.co.uk

Rev Barber Undoing Trumpism

Rev Barber Undoing Trumpism

Like many progressives the election of Donal Trump left me in a very depressed withdrawn and sometimes angry state. I have read and listened to many of our leaders try to give pep talks but all of them were woefully inadequate.  Then I read an article written by Reverend Dr William Barber and found my inspiration.  “Birth Pangs Of A Third Reconstruction” is a brilliant assessment of our current political reality post-election and a diagnosis of Trumpism’s cancer.  Rev Barber traces the roots of our current political situation to America’s first Reconstruction at the end of the 1800’s.

…every stride toward freedom in U.S. history has been met with this same backlash.  We faced it during Reconstruction, in the shadow of slavery and amid the wreckage of the Civil War. African Americans joined hands with whites in the North and in the South who were willing to see one another as allies.

Within four years after the end of the Civil War, white and black alliances controlled every state house in the South. Together, they elected new leaders. Almost all of the southern legislatures were controlled by either a predominantly black alliance or a strong interracial fusion coalition. They hammered out new constitutions from a deeply moral perspective.

These fusion coalitions 150 years ago also built the first public schools and in state constitutions gave all persons a constitutional right to public education — somethingRev Barber Undoing Trumpism

that to this day has not been done in the federal constitution. In the state constitution of North Carolina they stated that “beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of the first duties of a civilized and a Christian state.” They included labor rights and the right to “enjoyment of the fruit of your own labor” in 1868, long before the Knights of Labor came south with their first southern campaign.

They knew then — black and white together — from a moral fusion perspective, that labor without living wages is just a different form of slavery. They expanded access to the ballot and wrote a new fairness into criminal justice.

His plan to overcome the current backlash in response to changing demographics and 8 years of a black president, is so simple and left me thinking why I hadn’t heard more of this during our presidential campaign.

First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening.

They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’re working so hard this time to strangle it in its cradle — and we must know that. We have to recognize that helicopter leadership by so-called national leaders will not sustain a moral movement. What you need are local movements.

Obviously Trump and his supporters have no legitimate moral argument for any of the policies they are pushing just like the pro-slavery faction of the 1800’s, and the anti-civil rights faction in the 1960’s.Undoing Trumpism The lesson to take from that; if you appeal to the civility and inherent sense of fairness in an honest and sincere way, people will begin to open themselves and really listen to what you have to say. That’s how you build a diverse coalition of both democrats and republicans. But one thing progressives must do is make sure the leaders who take on this message have the credibility to say it with conviction. Local organizers, pastors, local social justice leaders, and advocacy group leaders are perfectly poised to take this on.

This new movement isn’t about “taking back America”. That kind of language implies that one party is more American than the other. It also implies that one group is more deserving of America’s promise than the other. That kind of thinking will never advance our ideas.  We’re all Americans. This movement is about restoring America. Restoring it back to the moral leader of the world. Restoring it back to the ideals that made us great. Reverend Barber has not only given us the blueprint, he has proven it can work. Now it’s time to upgrade the “Moral Monday” movement that ousted republican governor Pat McCrory in North Carolina, and replicate it in all 50 states.

Great article, great message, great man, great plan and most importantly, great inspiration. To read Rev Barber’s full article go to https://thinkprogress.org/rev-barber-moral-change-1ad2776df7c#.vn17l4ym7

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