i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Kwanzaa Everyone!

nguzo saba (the seven spiritual principles) - a guide for daily living...

umoja (unity)
to strive for & maintain unity in the family, community, nation & race.

kujichajulia (self-determination)
to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves & speak for ourselves instead of being defined, named, created for & spoken for by others.

ujima (collective work & responsibility)
to build & maintain our community together & make our sister's & brother's problems our problems & to solve them together.

ujamaa (cooperative economics)
to build & maintain our own stores, shops & other businesses & to profit from them together.

nia (purpose)
to make our collective vocation in the building & development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

kuumba (creativity)
to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful & beneficial than we inherited it.

imani (faith)
to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders & the righteousness & victory of our struggle.

dr. maulana karenga
september 7, 1965

Friday, December 21, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama Writes An Open Letter To Sandy Hook Victims And Their Families

first lady michelle obama wrote an open letter to the victims of the tragic shooting at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. the compassionate letter, entitled, "holding you in our hearts," was published in the hartford courant yesterday. the letter reads as follows:

"over the past week, we as americans have been united in our grief as newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams. as a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. like so many americans, i wish there was something - anything - i could do to ease your anguish.

but i know that i cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. i know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; any many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on - as families and as a community? but i also know that we have already begun to see the answer to that question in the countless acts of courage, kindness and love here in newtown and across america.

over the past week, i have been awed and inspired by newtown's heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment's notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation's darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.

and i am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of america; from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in cleveland and charlotte and juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.

and i want you to know that this is just the beginning. as my husband has said, in the coming weeks, he will use all the powers of his office to engage citizens from across the country to find ways to prevent tragedies like this one. and please know that every minute of every day, we are thinking of you, and praying for you, and holding you and your families in our hearts as you begin the slow and wrenching work of healing and moving forward.

in the months and years ahead, may the memories of those beautiful children and those heroic adults be a blessing for their families, for your community, and for our country, and may god bless you all."

first lady michelle obama, washington, dc.

today is the fifth consecutive day funerals will be held for victims of the massacre in newton, as three staff members and two students will be laid to rest. at 9:30 a.m., a moment of silence will take place nationally for the sandy hook victims, marking a week ago when adam lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children. he then took his own life.

newtown officials will convene together at 9:28 a.m. on the steps of edmund town hall in newtown, for the 9:30 a.m. moment of silence. governor dannel p. malloy, lt. governor nancy wyman and newtown first selectman patricia llodra will be among those in attendance. 

bells from nearby trinity episcopal church are also scheduled to ring 26 times in memory of each life lost in the tragedy. the u.s. post office has set up a special p.o. box for persons to send cards and flowers expressing their condolences and sympathies to the newtown community. the address is: box  3700, newtown, connecticut 06470.



Sunday, December 09, 2012

Biggie Smalls' Autopsy Report Leaked

it's been almost 16 years since brooklyn's own christopher wallace, also known as biggie smalls, big poppa, or the notorious b.i.g., was gunned down & killed in los angeles. now, because of a leaked autopsy report, shockingly graphic details of the legendary rapper's unsolved murder have finally been revealed.

wallace, who stood six foot one & weighed 395 pounds, was shot four times while riding in the passenger seat of a chevy suburban on wilshire boulevard march 9, 1997. he was struck in the chest, forearm, leg, scrotum & shoulder. according to the report, three of the shots were not fatal.

the shot to his left hip tore through his vital organs, perforating his colon, heart, liver & upper lobe of his left lung, the report detailed. doctors attempted to perform an emergency thoracotomy, but sadly, wallace was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.

wallace's death at age 24 shocked the hip hop community. he became a central figure in the east coast with the release of his prophetically titled 1994 album, ready to die. he went on to collaborate with sean "diddy" combs, jay-z, lil' kim & faith evans. wallace married evans just nine days after they met. he was also romantically linked to lil' kim.

six months before wallace's death, actor/rapper tupac shakur was shot & killed - also in california. the two stars were prominent in the controversial "east coast/west coast" beef amongst hip hop artists. ironically, biggie & tupac were once close friends. nevertheless, details surrounding the murder of "big poppa" remain murky: an assailant has never been identified.

in an interview with mtv, lil' kim was asked what she would say to biggie if he were alive today. said kim, "i would say he did a good job. he did a good job. he should be proud of himself. he should be very proud. he did some good things when he was here, i hope he looks at me & he's proud. he should be proud of the kids he made & how they turned out. he should just be proud of his work...that he left here on earth."

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Chiefs Win The Football Game But How Will They Heal Their Loss?

the scoreboard in arrowhead stadium on sunday afternoon read kansas city chiefs 27, carolina panthers 21. the chiefs improved their record to 2-10, which, especially given their dismal season, would normally be cause for celebration. but their victory came in the aftermath of an unimaginable tragedy involving one of their players. 

saturday morning chiefs linebacker jovan belcher killed his 22 year-old girlfriend, kasandra perkins. belcher then drove, alone, five miles to the stadium & shot himself - in front of chiefs coach romeo crenell, chiefs defensive coordinator gary gibbs & chiefs general manager scott piloi - in the parking lot of the team's facility.

many people, inside & outside of the nfl community, debated the purpose of the game being played. crenell said the team decided to play because "we're football players & coaches & that's what we do on sundays." chiefs center ryan lilja, one of the team captains who affirmed their decision said, "none of the options were good. the least worst option was to play. there was no precedent for this & i don't know if this was the right or wrong choice. but we chose to do it together."

professional male athletes are human & react to death in various ways. linebacker derrick johnson said belcher's death didn't really hit him until he woke up sunday morning & drove to the stadium. quarterback brady quinn pondered how well people actually communicate their real feelings in a society where social media dominates. lilja talked about a desire to hug every teammate when he walked into the locker room. 

the chiefs remind us of how the relationship between sports & extended families resonate universally. players openly talked about ways to support zoey, the three month-old daughter of belcher & perkins. team owner clark hunt emphasized therapists will be available for all who need support. crenell also mentioned how critical it was for the team to unify when he addressed them saturday morning.

said crenell, "the thing that helped the most was that we were able to lean on each other. we were able to let some things out." the chiefs also had to balance missing a friend & idolizing a murderer. there was no mention of belcher or perkins during the moment of silence before the game - the message was intended to demonstrate support for domestic violence - but a team employee left belcher's cleats, helmets, jersey & shoulder pads in his locker.

chiefs right tackle eric winston said, "the hardest part is to try & speak positively about belcher & also know what happened. that's the most confusing part for me. i've dealt with somebody taking their own life before, but never something like this." no one on their team ever experienced this type of trauma. in a town where football reigns supreme & two families are deeply wounded, the chiefs decided to heal the only way they knew how: by playing football on a sunday afternoon.