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Archive for the ‘2000s’ Category

Remarks:

Pras’s take on the old U2 song with Sharli McQueen singing.

Lyrics:

[Sharli McQueen]
What I wanna do
Uhh, uhh, one two one two c’mon
One two one two c’mon
Yo, c’mon, yo
Movin around the world and daydream of days that money brings
Chasin material assumin that it’s happiness inside
You think that you could buy a better life, no matter the price
But you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras Michel]
Yo it’s official now, I’m your, freedom fighter
If you feelin what I’m feelin people, put up your lighters yeah
Get in my cypher yeah, get in the grind
And I won’t stop rockin through the world seen the shine
Because I been many places, seen many faces
Shook many hands and mixed with many races
From nowhere to Bombay, did it my way
Got my style from the ghetto, took it straight to Broadway
Spit these bars cause in the hood I’m the instrument
Been around the world I stepped on seven continents (that’s right y’all)
20 millions later, I settled the score
They got money for war but can’t feed the poor

[Sharli McQueen]
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
One two one two one two c’mon
I’m stayin love you, but you don’t notice me (c’mon)
Diamonds and fancy cars, female celebrities all the time
You give away the things you say was mine, chasin the shine
But you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Yo, haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras Michel]
We gotta, make a move, by any means necessary
From January and January to January
Look out my window it’s a robbery
People still put they ones in the lottery
Big fish always try to eat the small fish
They do anything just to get their last wish
War in the East, there’s war in the West
War down South I stay war ‘pon the rest
As it’s been said, let it be done
And there’s nothing new underneath the sun
So we preserve what’s destined to come
And share our thoughts and blessings with our daughters and sons

[Sharli McQueen]
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras]
Guerilla baby!

[Sharli McQueen]
Haven’t found, oh no no no

[Pras]
Ah, yeah, alright
What, what, guerillas

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Remarks:

Keke Wyatt’s cover of the old Patti LaBelle song.

Lyrics:

I must have rehearsed my lines a thousand times,
Until I had them memorized.
But when I get up the nerve to tell you,
the words that never seem to come out right. ohh

[Chorus:]
If only you knew how much I do,
do love you, oh.
If only you knew,
how much I do, do need you.

I dream of moments we share, but your not there,
I’m living in a fantasy.
but you don’t even suspect,
could probably care less,
about the changes I been going through.

If only you knew how much I do,
do love you, oh.
If only you knew,
how much I do, do need you.
play on

No, you don’t even suspect,
Could probably care less,
about the changes I been going through.

If only you knew how much I do,
do love you, oh.
If only you knew,
how much I do, do need you.

Oh, if, if
Oh, You don’t know how much u don’t know
I said you don’t know,
how much I need you sugar,
only you knew,
how much I do,
I love you baby, only if u knew how much i do,
i love u baby, i need u baby

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Remarks:

Not sure what this song is about, but I still love it.

Lyrics:

Humdi Lila Allah Jehova Yahweh Deos Ma’ad
Jah Rastafara Fire Dance Sex Music, Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than religion Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than my nigga Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than the government
This one is for Dilla, Hip-Hop

We ain’t dead said the children
don’t believe it we just made ourselves invisible
Underwater stovetop, blue flame, scientists come out with your scales up
get baptized in the ocean of the Hungry
My niggas turn in to gods
walls come tumbling…..

Humdi Lila Allah Jehova Yahweh Deos Ma’ad
Jah Rastafara Fire Dance Sex Music, Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than religion Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than my nigga Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than the government
This one is The Healer, Hip-Hop

told you we aint dead yet
we’ve been living through your internet
you don’t have to believe everything
you think we’ve been programmed, wake up
we miss you.
they call you Indigo, we call you Africa.
go get baptized in the ocean
say re-boot, re-flush, re-start
fresh page, new day, OG, New Key

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Love & Basketball (2000) is a Hollywood film, a love story starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. It was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (I will do a post on her). Lathan and Epps grow up next door to each other in the 1980s in Crenshaw, a black part of Los Angeles. They both love basketball – and, even when they do not want to admit it, each other. Basketball brings them together – and tears them apart.

This was the film that made Sanaa Lathan’s name and got Boris Kodjoe noticed (he takes her to the spring dance). Tyra Banks got a bit part but was already world-famous as a supermodel.

Gabrielle Union is in it too, then also pretty much unknown. She tried out for the lead but lost out to Lathan. Instead she got a part as one of Epps’s girlfriends. Union was to make her name that same year by starring in “Bring it On”, a cheerleader film.

Supporting characters: Debbi Morgan and Dennis Haysbert play Epps’s parents, Alfre Woodard plays Lathan’s mother.  In addition to the love story and the basetketball, the film shows Lathan’s relationship with her mother and Epps’s with his father. Debbi Morgan was great as a woman past her prime in a failing marriage.

The best scene except for the end was at the the spring dance: Lathan is dancing with Kodjoe and Epps is dancing with Union and they are playing Zapp and Roger’s “I Want to Be Your Man” (1987). Not only do I love that song but Lathan looked absolutely beautiful in that scene.

It is one of those movies I kept hearing about but never saw – till the other day. At the time it came out I had no reason to see it: I did not know Lathan then and my wife is no fan of Epps (too short?). I like Alfre Woodard but she is no big Hollywood star so I never know if she is in something until I am already watching it: “Hey, look, Alfre Woodard!”

It was a sweet story – though, truth be told, I would have probably watched it if it was just two hours of Sanaa Lathan breathing or waiting for a bus. If Halle Berry is bread, Sanaa Lathan is cake. With icing.

Lathan had played basketball only twice in her life before she got the part. They had to shoot the basketball scenes so you could not tell – partly by shooting the action from her point of view.

All the basketball players wear Nike shoes: because Nike had enough shoes from the 1980s for a period film. Prince-Bythewood, the director, tried to stay as in period as possible – though right in the opening scene set in 1981 she plays a song from 1983 (“Candy Girl” by New Edition). In the director’s commentary I found out that she knew that – she was just about the same age as the main characters in 1981 – but thought the song was too good to pass up.

See also:

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Remarks:

This is easily my favourite video of this song. I am in love with the shorter backing singer.

Lyrics:

ohhhh
spoken:I cant hear myself
ooo
spoken:can you please turn me up a little bit more

I was a little different
I didn’t do what the fast girls do
study my rhythm
you can speed me up when you want to, oooh

They were to cool to run my race
You kept the pace with a smile on ya face
Go head baby(go head baby)
Then I knew he was you(then i knew he was you)

But first you took me around
Introduced me to your family and friends
And told them how that once we met that
We would never lose
Oh boy

I decided that you are the him for me
Oh boy
Because…..
I decided that you are the him for me
Oh my boy

How’s it feel to win it
Where ain’t no mountains that you can’t move
Your mind is like a prism
For god’s light to shine through

They were to cool to run my race (Yeah)
You kept the pace with a smile on ya face
Go head baby (go head baby)
Then I knew it was true (Then I knew it was you)

But first you took me around
Introduced me to your family and friends
And told them how that once we met that
We would never lose (never lose never lose)
Oh boy

I decided that you are the him for me
Oh boy
Because…….
I decided (I decided) that you are the him for me (u are the one for me baby)
Oh my boy (OHH Boy)

You were running me running me down (down)
Telling me telling me wait (wait)
Running me down and telling me you were never gonna let go
Is the way you got me (ohh thats the way u got me when u got me baby ohh now u got me baby)

You were running me running me down (running)
Telling me telling me wait (tellin me tellin me wait)
Running me down and telling you were never gonna let go
Is the way you got me

Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby
Baby, Dont break my heart
Whoa..Let me take it from you (let me take it from you)
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby (baby)
Cause were one and the closer I get
To you the more fearful I become
Whoa….That would break me in two Honey (that would break me in two honey)

Because…..
I decided that you are the him for me
Oh my boy

(Yes)You were running me running me down (running me running me down)
Telling me telling me wait
Running me down and telling you were never gonna let go yeah yeah that’s the way u you got me baby
that’ the way you got me baby

You were running me running me down
Telling me telling me wait
Running me down and telling you were never gonna let go
Is the way you got me

See also:

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tumblr_odymk1yVYW1shbgx3o6_540.gif

Solange, 2016.

Solange Knowles (1986- ) is an American R&B singer best known as the little sister of picture-perfect Beyonce. She has had three number one hits on the American dance charts:

Beyonce's sister gets attacked

2008: I Decided

Solange - Sandcastle Disco [Official Video]

2008: Sandcastle Disco

Solange T O N Y a Msica video

2009: T.O.N.Y.

The last two she wrote with Cee-Lo of Gnarls Barkley. All three songs are from her second album, “Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams” (2008). Like Raphael Saadiq, her music sounds like it is from the 1960s but made now –  neo-Motown sort of stuff. Partly because she loves old soul music and partly, no doubt, because she is desperately trying not to sound like her sister! Her first album, “Solo Star” (2003), was all over the place in terms of musical style. Hadley Street is the street in Houston, Texas where her father’s record company stands and where she recorded the album.

She was never one of the main members of Destiny’s Child, though she has been a dancer and backing singer for them and one time did fill in for Kelly Rowland. When she was 15 she travelled the world with them as a dancer. After that her father thought she was old enough to handle a recording contract. Out of that came “Solo Star”.

“Solo Star” did not do well. She went into acting and landed parts in two films: she played the daughter of Vanessa Williams and Cedric the Entertainer in “Johnson Family Vacation” (2004) and then the head black cheerleader in “Bring It On: All or Nothing” (2006), the third film in that series.

In 2004 she married a football player, Daniel Smith. They had a son later that year, Daniel Julez J. Smith, and moved to the mountains of Idaho. In 2007 they divorced. Solange moved to Hollywood with her son.

Up to this point she had taken whatever opportunities came her way. They were great opportunities but she lacked inner direction. In Idaho it seems she got her head together and made up her mind to become a singer and songwriter, singing the kind of music she liked, not whatever producers like the Neptunes or Timbaland were pushing at her, making her sound like every other singer out there. She knew she liked Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes and so on, and she started from there, writing songs. That was the beginning of what became “Hadley St. Dreams”.

In August 2009 she cut off her hair. It was a brave move but it seems to have worked out well: she looks better in short hair. It brings out the beauty of her face much more.

She made my list of women with the most beautiful lips, just ahead of Molly Ringwald.

As someone who hates how Beyonce is pushed so hard at us and as someone who is a second son, it is hard for me not to like Solange. But even apart from that I do like her music more (featured here twice so far).

I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows her! Yes, we are that tight.

– Abagond, 2010.

See also:

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Remarks:

I loved the guitar solo in this song – until, that is, I looked up the video in YouTube (above) and, listening to the song over again, found out that the guitar solo in my memory was so much better than the one in the song! In fact, the song does not even have a proper guitar solo! Maybe there is some other version (or song?) I am thinking of.

Lyrics:

Nothing can make you high
Or put fire in your eyes
Or give you a chance to fly
When you need the wings
When all that youve got is doubt
And nothing can stop you from feeling down
But oh I know, I know exactly how you feel

But can you believe now
When youre on your knees now
Begging and pleading now
Can you believe
When all that youve got is doubt
And no one to pull you out
When your heart is slowin down
Can you believe

See the person I love the most
Is so far away tonight
And no other medicine or promise is
Gonna heal me up right
But I got to believe
That her and me
Will be together
Cause thats all I got
And Oh, I know
When youre down at the bottom
Can you believe

Can you believe when all hope seems gone
When your mother and father cant keep you safe from harm
Can you forgive in your heart
Can you ask for forgiveness
When nobody else believes can you believe
Can you believe in yourself

If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know
If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know
If nobodys watchin
You will never know
If somebodys watchin
You will never know

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Idris Elba

Idris Elba (1972- ) is a British actor best know for playing a cold-hearted drug dealer, Stringer Bell, on the HBO television show “The Wire” from 2002 to 2004.

On this blog at the end of 2009 he was voted the sixth most gorgeous man in the world. One commenter said he was “pure dark sexual chocolate”. Essence magazine named him one of the ten hottest men on the planet in 2004 and 2005. He made the cover of their bachelor issue in 2009. In 2007 People magazine named him one of the 100 most beautiful people in the world.

His American accent is so good that people are surprised when they find out he is British. But Hollywood has little interest in black characters with British accents – just ask Thandie Newton.

He was born in East London to African parents. His father was from Sierra Leone and his mother from Ghana. His uncle was a DJ who played music at Sierra Leonean weddings and christenings. While his uncle slipped off to chat up a bridesmaid he would leave Elba in charge. By 14 Elba was old enough to travel with uncle across England as a DJ. By 15 he was a DJ in his own right.

In his early twenties he started trying out for parts on British television. He played several supporting characters but did not become known in Britain till he got a steady part on “Family Affairs” in 1997. After a point, though, he saw there was little future for him in Britain: America had a much bigger black audience and therefore more and better characters for him to play (since blacks are mostly limited to playing “black” characters).

So he came to New York and worked as a DJ while he looked for work as an actor. It was hard. First there was his accent. Then his marriage broke apart and he was living in his brown Chevrolet Astro van for eight weeks. He got some small parts and in 2001 even played Achilles in Shakespeare’s “Troilus & Cressida” (the New York Times said he had the right “graceless egomania” for the part).

Then his fortunes turned: in 2002 he hit the big time as Stringer Bell in “The Wire”, playing one of the baddest gangsters in what some say is the best police show America has ever produced. While he loved playing the Machiavellian Stringer – the character was deep even if he was cold-blooded and narrowed by his drivenness – he was glad to see Stringer as a character come to a bad end.

Since the “The Wire” he has appeared in several films, like “Daddy’s Little Girls” (2007) with Gabrielle Union, “American Gangster” (2007), “RocknRolla” (2008) and “Obsessed” (2009) with Beyonce. In 2009 he appeared in six episodes of “The Office”, a British television comedy made American by NBC – which required him to speak with an American accent!

He has a daughter, Isan, born in 2002 to his now ex-wife. He has a house in Atlanta to be near his daughter.

– Abagond, 2010.

Update (2019): Idris Elba married beauty queen Sabrina Dhowre. She was Miss Vancouver 2014:

See also:

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Remarks:

A Jill Scott song I like that comenter Jeri posted last week.

Lyrics:

Some of them wanna break you down, steal your crown
Use and abuse you.
Some of them smile in your face, cause they heard it some place,
You got more then their used to
Some of them want to steal your love, ooh
Cuz they’re jealous of …how you’re living and giving.

I keep
Moving forward, pressing onward, striving further
I keep
Keep on laughing, keep on living, keep on loving yeah
I keep
Keep on dreaming keep on achieving, keep on believing
I keep
I keep smiling when I come thru …and I cry when I need too.

Some of them, oh they stab you in your back, cuz it’s love they lack.
Some of them won’t even try …to see the good inside.
But I ….

I keep
Moving forward, pressing onward, striving further
I keep
Keep on laughing, keep on living, keep on loving yeah
I keep
Keep on dreaming keep on achieving, keep on believing

Hey. Oh oh oh
I keep on , keep on living, keep on learning , keep on smiling ooh ooh yeah
Keep on laughing, keep on living, keep on loving yeah
I keep
Keep on dreaming, keep on believing, keep on achieving.
I keep smiling when I come thru, and I cry when I need to
(Adlib below)
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yea yea yeah
I keep on , keep on keeping on.
Yea. I keep ,keep on keep keepin on keep keeping on

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James Franco

James Franco (1978- ) is an American actor. He played Daniel Desario on the television show  “Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000) and Harry Osborn, Spiderman’s best friend, in the three Spiderman films (2002, 2004, 2007).

On this blog he was voted the seventh most gorgeous man in the world in 2009, just ahead of Paul Newman. It is not just this blog either:

  • 1996: Palo Alto High School: “Best Smile”
  • 2004: People magazine: 50 Hottest Bachelors
  • 2009: Salon.com: Sexiest Man Living

Salon also named him one of ten men “who might just inspire the rebirth of Jewish male cool“.

He says he is only Jewish “technically” – you know, because his mother is Jewish. He was not brought up Jewish. Still, he hopes to have his bar mitzvah in his thirties. His mother’s family is from Russia, his father’s from Sweden and Portugal.

He has wanted to become an actor ever since his shy, buck-toothed youth when he saw “My Own Private Idaho” (1991), directed by Gus Van Sant, one of his heroes, and “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-2000). He thought acting would be kind of cool. Cool enough to get his teeth straightened. And to drop out of university: he left UCLA after his first year to study acting for 15 months under Robert Carnegie at Playhouse West.

He landed a part as a freak on “Freaks and Geeks”, a high school comedy that NBC half-heartedly ran on television for the 1999-2000 season. Some loved it, especially television reviewers, but the masses apparently prefer their high school characters to be beautiful and as deep as spit – like on “Beverly Hills, 90210”. NBC killed it after 18 episodes.

His big break came in 2001 when he starred in “James Dean”, a straight-to-television film made by TNT. He got so into character that he picked up James Dean’s smoking habit! But it also got him a Golden Globe and the notice of the great and good of Hollywood, like Robert De Niro. He has been working steadily ever since.

He tried out for the lead part in “Spiderman” (2002). He lost to Tobey Maguire, so he wound up playing Spiderman’s best friend, Harry Osborn. The Spiderman films were maybe not as good as “Freaks and Geeks” (certainly not according to voters at IMDb.com) but hugely successful nonetheless in terms of ticket and DVD sales.

In 2008 he appeared in “Milk” about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. He played Milk’s boyfriend. The great part of that is that it was directed by none other than Gus Van Sant. The not-so-good part is that he had to kiss Sean Penn, who played the lead. Franco said it made him feel uncomfortable.

He went back to UCLA, at last, and got his degree. There he studied writing under Mona Simpson, the blood sister of Steve Jobs. After UCLA he studied writing and film in New York at NYU and Columbia. While there he acted in “General Hospital”, the soap opera, for the 2009-2010 season. He played a character named Franco.

In 2010 he is set to play Allen Ginsburg in the film “Howl”.

See also:

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Angela Bassett in “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) in her most iconic scene.

 

Angela Bassett (1958- ), an American actress, is perhaps the best black female actress alive in Hollywood. She is both more beautiful and far more talented than Halle Berry, the only black woman so far to win an Oscar for best actress. Bassett has played Tina Turner, the wife of Malcolm X (twice) and the mother of Biggie Smalls.

Some of her films:

  • 1991: Boyz N the Hood
  • 1992: Malcolm X
  • 1993: What’s Love Got to Do with It
  • 1995: Waiting to Exhale (pictured above)
  • 1995: Strange Days
  • 1998: How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  • 2006: Akeelah and the Bee
  • 2008: Meet the Browns
  • 2009: Notorious

I already knew who she was by the time she appeared in “Malcolm X” but apparently it was playing Tina Turner a year later in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” that made her name with mainstream American audiences.

She lost the lead in “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999) to Halle Berry. She turned down the lead in “Monster’s Ball” (2001) because of how it shows black women – and because she does not do nude scenes. Halle Berry took that part and went on to win an Oscar for best actress.

Angela Bassett was born on the very same day as Madonna: August 16th 1958. She was born in Harlem but her mother soon moved to St Petersburg, Florida, where she grew up in public housing.

In 1974 she saw James Earl Jones in “Of Mice and Men” on a school trip to Washington, DC:

I just sat there after the play, boo-hoo crying, weeping. I couldn’t move, and I remember thinking, “My gosh, if I could make somebody feel the way I feel right now!”

From that moment she began to think about becoming an actress.

She got a scholarship to Yale. After getting her degree in African American Studies, she studied acting at the Yale School of Drama. She had to unlearn her Southern accent. There she met Courtney B. Vance, whom she would one day marry.

After Yale she acted in some television ads, the soap opera “Guiding Light” and two August Wilson plays. Then her friend Larry Fishburne helped her to land a part in “Boyz N the Hood”. She played the mother of the main character – but to her she was playing her own mother. That got her noticed as a serious actress in Hollywood.

In 1993 she starred opposite Fishburne in “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, with her cast as Tina to his Ike. She broke her hand during shooting – but that only helped her to play Tina Turner even better. Tina Turner did her make-up and taught her the dance moves. One reviewer said that Bassett, “captures the erotic youthquake that was Tina Turner in the ’60s and early ’70s”.

In 1997 she married actor Courtney B. Vance. He played her husband when she appeared in the last season of “ER” (2008-2009). They have a boy and a girl: Slater and Bronwyn, both born in 2006 by means of a surrogate mother (Bassett was 47 at the time of their birth).

See also:

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Haiti was a land of the Tainos (Arawaks). But then one day in 1492 a white man named Columbus arrived from over the seas. He noticed they wore gold jewellery. He told them he would cut off the hands of any Taino over 13 who did not give him a certain amount of gold or cotton every three months. The Taino fled inland, but the Spanish followed, running them down with dogs and killing them, looking for the gold mines. They made girls into sex slaves. It got so bad that mothers were killing their own babies.

In two years half the Tainos were dead.  By 1555 they were all gone.

In 1505 Columbus’s son brought the first African slaves to the Americas, bringing them to Haiti. By 1519 there were already slave uprisings.

In 1697 France got Haiti from Spain and called it Saint-Domingue.

By 1789 Haiti produced three-fourths of all the sugar in the world, its black slaves producing more wealth than all of English-speaking North America. A third of slaves died within three years after arriving from Africa.

In the 1790s Toussaint L’Ouverture led a slave uprising that in time overthrew the French, making Haiti independent in 1804. The slaves were freed and the land divided among them. The 3,300 remaining French were killed and white was taken out of the flag, leaving red and blue.

For its loss France demanded payment of a crushing debt. France, Britain and America cut it off from overseas trade until it agreed to pay the debt. It took till 1947 to pay it off.

Like the Roman Empire, Haiti had no peaceful means for power to change hands. Often the government would be overthrown every few years.

From 1849 to 1913 America sent warships into Haitian waters 24
times to “protect American lives and property.”

Haiti was under American military rule from 1915 to 1934. Major General Smedley D. Butler said he hunted the Haitians “like pigs” and made Haiti “a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in.” American troops practised “indiscriminate killing of natives” while the American press called Haitians “a horde of naked niggers” in need of “energetic Anglo-Saxon influence”.

America rewrote Haiti’s laws so that Americans could buy up land. They sent 40% of Haiti’s income to American and French banks to pay back debts.

From 1957 t0 1986 Haiti was ruled by the Duvaliers: Papa Doc and Baby Doc. They ruled by terror through the paramilitary Tonton Macoutes. America backed them and opened factories there.

Since the fall of Baby Doc, Haiti has gone back and forth between military rule and democracy, with Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a country priest, as the star democrat. America sent in troops in 1994 to restore Aristide to power, but it seems likely they were behind his overthrow in 1991 and 2004.

Democracy was last restored in 2006. The government is backed by a UN force but it is still weak. On top of that Haiti was hit by hurricanes and tropical storms in 2008 that killed over a thousand and by an earthquake in 2010 that has killed 110,000 at last count.

See also:

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TJ Holmes

TJ Holmes (1977- ) is an American news reporter and presenter for CNN.

On this blog at the end of 2009 he was voted the ninth most gorgeous man in the world, coming in fourth among black men. Upscale magazine named him Maleman of the month in August 2008. Danielle Belton, on her blog The Black Snob, awarded him the 2008 Ed Bradley Award for Journalistic Hotness.

It is unknown what TJ stands for. He says it is just what his family called him growing up.

He joined CNN in 2006. He has covered news events like the Mumbai bombing (2008), the Virginia Tech shooting (2007) and the hanging of Saddam Hussein (2006).

His regular beat these days is the newsroom: you can see him presenting the news on CNN Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sometimes he fills in for Rich Sanchez during the week.

He was born in West Memphis, Arkansas. He went to the University of Arkansas, where he fell in love with television news. He liked the live element of it and has not looked back since. From there he worked his way up as a television news reporter and presenter, first in Joplin, Missouri, then Little Rock, Arkansas, then he did the weekday five o’clock news on the NBC station in San Francisco. After three years there he came to CNN.

Holmes on racism: as a local news reporter it has hurt him to see stories of interest to blacks get killed time and again. It is not that the editors are bad people but, being white, they do not see the world the same way as blacks or find the same things interesting. That means the news does not show the world as it is. He says that will change if more blacks and others, not just white men, to go into news reporting.

On a personal level he says he has been called the n-word, but he sees those people as ignorant losers. More generally he says:

I don’t necessarily consider most people racist. I have, however, seen a lot of racial bias. What I mean by that is people don’t hate me because of the color of my skin, but they simply don’t see me as an equal. Some may say that by not seeing me as an equal, that’s the very definition of racism. Rather, I believe people have so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about black people. They make assumptions based on the color of my skin.

He gives an example of washing his car: one time a white man came  up to him and asked if he was a football player. Holmes is not built like a football player, but for the white man that was overridden by Holmes being a black man owning a nice car.

He once dated Rozonda “Chili” Thomas, the C of TLC. He is set to marry Marilee Fiebig (pictured right) in March 2010. She is an Atlanta lawyer.

He likes Twizzlers and Mike and Ikes. And “The Drum Major Instinct” (1968) by Martin Luther King.

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white pride

Note: This post is about white pride in America, but much of what I say probably applies to whites in other English-speaking countries.

White pride means being proud of being white, to the point where your sense of self-worth and self-image become built on it. It is like patriotism but it is about your race not your country.

In America the only people who seem to talk about white pride are skinhead sorts. They see it as the white counterpart to black pride: something necessary to keep the race strong. They do not see it as racist.

But most whites do not talk about white pride: not only does it seem racist to them, they think they do not have it. Like with racism, they think it is just a skinhead thing.

Some on the left go even further: they like repeating all the terrible things whites have done: genocide, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, etc. You would think this would lead to white shame, but in practice it just seems to add to white guilt.

American mainstream culture supports white pride. We are constantly being told that “white is right”. For example:

  • White History Month is the longest month of the year: it never ends.
  • “White is beautiful” is pushed by the film and fashion industries.
  • CNN never shows “White in America”.

You know that ordinary whites have white pride because they do things that otherwise make no sense. Like defend the slave trade. Why would anyone waste their breath defending such a clear evil? Because their white pride is at stake.

Even whites who you would think had no white pride have it: like those who have married black and have only black children. If you start bad-mouthing whites to them they often get upset too and try to disprove you, sounding just as racist as most other whites (though their arguments are often more subtle).

Whites think they are neutral: that they just concern themselves with facts and reasons. But when race comes up two things come in: white pride and white guilt. Fact and reason fly out the window; hurt feelings and weak excuses take their place. Because they feel they must defend their pride and avoid facing their guilt. They no longer think clearly but in a twisted, half-blind, self-serving way. Their feelings can become more important than the truth.

In and of itself there is nothing wrong with being proud of your race. If you live in a racist country where your race is outnumbered it is both necessary and healthy in order to fight against internalized racism. In America black pride is a defence against the white pride of the mainstream.

But where pride in one’s race goes wrong is when it is used as an excuse to:

  • Look down on other races.
  • Turn a blind eye to the faults of one’s own race.

And in America white pride is used that way all the time, causing great damage to the country.

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racist

Humpty Dumpty: When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.

Alice: The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.

Humpty Dumpty: The question is which is to be master – that’s all.

A racist is someone who believes that:

each race or ethnic group possesses specific characterisitics, abilities, or qualities that distinguish it as inferior or superior to another such group.

That is what the Oxford English Dictionary says and so, as a matter blog policy, it is what I go by.

But that puts me at odds with both anti-racists and most White Americans who have changed the meaning of the word to suit their own ends.

White Americans seem to think that a racist is someone who says the n-word in a mean way (but not in a “friendly” or “joking” way), is in favour of the Klan, maybe has a Nazi flag on his bedroom wall, etc. Skinheads, neo-Nazis, Stormfront and all those. By narrowing the meaning of the word they have – presto-changeo – made themselves not racist!

What they mean by “racism” is the old Jim Crow racism that the civil rights movement publicly shamed on American television coast-to-coast in the 1960s, making it rare now in respectable white circlesBut what has taken its place is a more subtle form of racism, which I call colour-blind racism. The colour-blind racist says he does not see colour – until you want to marry his daughter. He does not hate blacks so much as look down on them.

A colour-blind racist hides his racism under three layers of niceness (or maybe just one thin layer)  and maybe throws in some politically correct words for added measure, but deep down he is still racist in the good old Oxford dictionary sense. How do we know? The numbers show that racism still goes on in housing, education, unemployment, marriage, etc.

Whites are taught that racism is bad. They pride themselves in not being racist. So when you call white people racist they get upset. They think you mean the Jim Crow sort.

To me racism is what it is in the dictionary: a set of beliefs – like communism or Platonism. When I say someone is racist I am doubting their thinking, not their character. And, nine times out of ten, the racism in question is not the ugly, old Jim Crow sort but the new, subtle colour-blind kind.

At the other end are the anti-racists who say:

racism = prejudice + power

But they are also changing the meaning of the word. And, in any case, I do not buy it, but that is another post.

Some say I am watering down the word, but how? I am the one who is sticking to the meaning of the word. If it turns out that most people are racist, then so be it. No point in fooling ourselves about it by changing the meaning of the word.

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