The 4th of YOU-LIED!

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Fire up the grill, get the kids and light the fireworks! On July 4th, 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopt the United States Declaration of Independence, after an 8 year battle with the Crown. Members of American colonial society rejected the authority of British Parliament to tax them without Colonial representatives in the government. This eventually evolved into the American Revolution, where white and black men fought side-by-side.

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Once the war was won America deemed itself a place where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But what did that mean in relation to African-Americans?

Nothing, nada, zilch, cero…
The truth of the matter is that July 4th did nothing for African-Americans on a large-scale. The Loyalists (Britain) as well as the Patriots (America) promised slaves money, self-government, land, but most important of all, freedom. As the Revolutionary War spread Africans sided with whichever army promised them personal liberty. The British actively recruited slaves belonging to Patriots and consequently more  Africans wound up fighting for the crown.
The reality is that most slaves who fought for the rebels and the crown remained property of their masters, promises unfulfilled.

“Many thousands of African-Americans who aided the British lost their freedom anyway. Many of them ended up in slavery in the Caribbean. Others, when they attempted to leave with the British, in places like Charleston and Savannah, were prevented. And there are incredible letters written by southerners of Africans after the siege of Charleston, swimming out to boats, and the British hacking away at their arms with cutlasses to keep them from following them. So it was a very tragic situation. And of the many thousands of Africans who left the plantations, not many of them actually got their freedom.”

— Margaret Washington, historian, on the evacuation of Charleston

The feelings of discrimination and prejudice that was bred into this country’s fabric still lingers and it’s evident by how non-whites are treated by the law, especially those who are of African descent and of darker complexion.

It wouldn’t be until 1865 before we could even nibble on the idea of freedom…

JUNETEENTH

  Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of physical slavery in the United States. On June 19th 1865 Union Soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas to declare that the remaining slaves are free.

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Keep in mind that the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered by Abraham Lincoln on January 1st 1863, it was two and a half years before the final slaves were freed. This fact alone should show you just how much the Union cared about slaves. Here are some bullet points to keep in mind when thinking about Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and its relation to slavery.

  • Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist, though he did feel like it was morally wrong overall. But he was conflicted as to what should be done about it. An abolitionist knows exactly what should be done with slavery, and that would be to eradicate it and accept freedmen as equal members of society. True abolitionist also felt that the Constitution was comparable to trash because it justified the system of slavery to begin with, it held no weight in their eyes.
  • Lincoln didn’t think blacks should have the same rights as whites, even though some sources report he had African and Native American lineage. He believed in an All men created equal” just not politically so: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he began, going on to say that he opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.”

Lincoln believed that colonization was a great idea for Africans. He thought that the majority of Africans should settle back in Africa or in Central America. Ironically the African leaders of the time were angered with Lincolns proposal and argued that they were natives just as much as anyone else.f244b181591385cfbd9d1fc1abc07f59

  • Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free ALL the slaves. The Proclamation was a military order, with that being said it didn’t apply to border states such as Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union. It was also allowed to continue in subdued Confederate states in hopes that the Union would gather inertia. In summary the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to where the Union had no control. By the war’s end approximately 200,000 African men had served in the Civil War.

Synopsis

Overall the 4th of YOU-LIE! is about exposing the truths regarding Independence Day, slavery, as well as challenging the cliché narratives coupled with American holidays. The lies within American culture are most definitely deep-rooted in hate, bigotry, emasculation and fear. America’s policies haven’t changed much over the years if you look at how they frame historical events through propaganda via the media.

  • How could I believe in Patriotism when the “patriots” of the American Revolution didn’t even consider my ancestors human?
  • How could I wear red, white and blue when it doesn’t represent my heritage or my identity?
  • How could I sing the star-spangled banner knowing that my people have been and still are confused about their godliness?
  • How could I celebrate the 4th of YOU-LIED knowing that my people were promised equality and human rights but were deceived?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself if you’re an African in America. So while you heat up those ribs and hotlinks think about this post and think about why YOU celebrate holidays….

Save a burger for me!

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Ashé/Ase (ah-SHAY)

Ashe is a component of the African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make whatever one says happen, produce change and  command authority. It can be used in a variety of contexts and in my opinion is comparable to the Chinese philosophy of ch’i/qi (chee).
Ashe is in every living and non-living thing, it is the life force that drives. Its important to point out that this is a force that is transmissible; conducted by material or symbolic meanings and can be accumulated.
In it’s spiritual context it means “so let it be/ may it be so”. Depending on what you believe Ashe can be used interchangeably with amen.

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#LibertyOrDeath

#themoreyouknow

Silvestri: The Sneaky Salmon

On May 10th 2016 I was asked if I would like to voice my concern about a resolution proposed by Commissioner Silvestri, the Commissioner of the 9th District of Cook County . The major theme of the proposal was to change the position of Cook County Circuit Clerk from elected, to appointed. This would mean that the people wouldn’t have a say so in who they feel is the best person for the job, and only the Board of Commissioners would decide.

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 The problem with this is that 17 people, who all have salaries over $100,000, couldn’t possibly represent the people in an effective manner with the Peoples’ interest in mind. This simple fact was all of the ammunition I needed to attack these fascists, though there was more evidence to bring to light. The hearing for Mrs. Dorothy Brown was on the 11th so I was hard pressed to find more information to back up what I would say the following day.

Keep in mind that this “resolution” was brought to the table shortly after Mrs. Brown asked for a raise; the last time her position got a raise was 16 years ago, and this after the Democratic Party, chaired by Preckwinkle, endorsed Michelle Harris.  How can you expect a person to do better than the previous year when expenses go up each year, and you won’t give them the resources they need to function effectively?

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When the resolution concerning Dorothy Brown came up, Silvestri saw all of those African faces in there, and decided to cut his losses. It was at least 30 Dorothy Brown supporters in there, and he definitely didn’t want us to turn up! Though this was just to shut us up collectively because they don’t want certain messages broadcast (the hearings are live), and they don’t want YOU to THINK for YOURSELF!!! Once they told us that we couldn’t speak, I left, but this is what I wrote:

Good morning,

My name is Quintin Martins representing B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. Inc. and I’m here to voice my concern regarding Mr. Silvestri’s proposal. This proposal would change the Circuit Clerks position from elected to appointed which means that  we would have to rely on the 17 individuals on the board of commissioners to choose a clerk that’s in the interest of the people. That’s 17 votes out of the 1,171,349 votes for circuit clerk, which is not even half of a half of 1 percent. This, Mr. Silvestri, is an absolute spit in the face of democracy and the fact that this is even up for discussion is disgusting. Lets be clear about what this is really about, the powers that be became disappointed that Ms. Brown rightfully won her seat as Cook County Circuit Clerk. When she asked for a raise she was declined and is expected to perform better than she did the year before, even  though she has 9 times as many employees as her associates. Its obvious that their priority is to stifle Ms. Brown in any way, but shouldn’t their priority be to the people and not the pocket? Maybe if the democratic party was concerned with representing the people instead of splitting votes then maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t have won. I have my own proposal, let’s focus on an appointed position we would like to see on the ballot in the future and petition for that!

 

The American 1%: Social Class Divide on Crack

Who Rules the United States?

The United States of America is supposed to be, by design, a representative democracy, but who really runs the United States? Two perspectives that hypothesize on who runs the United States is the functionalist and conflict perspectives.

 

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WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

Crucial to this question, is a sound understanding of the fundamental reasoning that make up both perspectives; the demand and supply of authority. Also key, is an understanding of citizenship, democracy, and capitalism. Lastly, it is imperative to have a strong grasp on the U.S. Political Infrastructure, and how all these factors are waged into the arguments of the functionalist and conflict perspectives. The first step in this inquisition is to come to an agreed definition of authority, which is the common goal of any government; the monopoly over power and the use of violence.

 

Authority and You!

Authority, is the extension of power by one group, or government, over the larger population of people within a defined territory. Functionalists view states, or governments, as having arisen from the necessity of social groups, to protect the masses of people from anarchy, which is unrestrained disorder and crime. Conflict theorists would agree that an unrestrained government is detrimental, but they differ in that they believe the current government to be functioning in a way that doesn’t contribute to the welfare and longevity of its citizens. There are three types of authority that societies recognize: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. Traditional authority is the type of authority that is extended over a social group by way of culture and customs. Rational-legal authority is a type of authority that is recognized by the people as legitimate due to its establishment in the laws of the land. Charismatic authority is the type of power offered to individuals based on their outstanding traits, which prompt others to follow them. This brings us to the question of the natural forces that bring people within a defined territory together; citizenship.

Citizenship: Consented Violence

Citizenship is the concept that birth (residence or naturalization), is the basis upon which individuals are afforded basic rights. This is one of the great benefits of this country; this is the idolized land of opportunity. The place where anyone can become Steve Jobs. The part of the story they leave out is that during that struggle for opportunity, you will face unfathomable obstacles, and if you are a woman or a person of color, you will encounter far more pressing odds on your pursuit to the American dream. Poverty and social class divisions do exist in this country, which brings us to the concept of universal citizenship, which addresses discrimination with its emphasis on everyone having the same basic rights. Now, let’s focus in on the guiding principles of this country. Before we dive more into the country’s political infrastructure, let’s get an understanding of capitalism, and how it plays a role in our country’s social makeup.

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Capitalism: The American Nightmare

Capitalism, is the concept around which the private ownership of the means of production, and the desire and pursuit of profit controls the supply and demand of economic markets. There are two types of capitalism that currently exist in societies: lassiez-faire capitalism, and welfare capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism is unrestrained by government, and is commonly called hands-off capitalism. Welfare capitalism is a form of capitalism where government encourages the private ownership of land, but regulates capitalism to ensure the welfare of the masses of the nation’s population. Conflict theorists coined the name power elite, to refer to the 1% of Americans, made up of the super-rich, heads of military, top legislators, but most importantly, the heads of this country’s top corporations. They say that it is this small group of individuals who make the decisions that control the major functioning of the United States of America. This brings us to how both the functionalists and conflict perspectives view capitalism, as it relates to the U.S. political infrastructure.

The U.S. Political Infrastructure

The infrastructure of the United States political system is bipartisan, with several smaller roadways that we will collectively refer to as third parties. Minus the presence of these almost non-existent third parties, the U.S. political system is dominated by democrats and republicans. Democrats are associated publicly with advocating for the welfare of the masses of the population. Republicans are associated publicly with advocating for the interest of the wealthy. The supposed common denominator is that both parties adopt the philosophy of free education, a strong military, and the freedom of religion, speech, and assembly of the American people. Functionalists view this system of representative democracy, fused with the safe guard of this system’s checks and balances system, as sufficient and effective, as it grew directly from the need of the people to have a government. They also see capitalism as necessary, as both parties of this country’s bipartisan arrangement view capitalism as essential to the welfare of our economy. Conflict theorist, on the reverse, sees the influence of capitalism on policy, as an illegitimate form of control (coercion) of the people by corporations; the power elite, or ruling class. This power elite is comprised of the super-rich 1% of Americans, who head the country’s top corporations, are top ranking military officials, and are our country’s most influential elected officials. The conflict perspective also provides an analysis on the hierarchy of the power elite group. The three groups are not equal in power, but because all three segments of the group view capitalism as crucial to American economy, corporations wield more power in this group makeup.

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In Context: Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives

There are two perspectives on who rules the United States of America; the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Authority is the extension of power over the people, fused with the exclusive monopoly on the use of violence. Key to answering this question, is the gaining of understanding around both the functionalist and conflict theories. Also important, is the understanding of authority, capitalism, and democracy. Lastly, you must have a sound understanding of capitalism, and how it is perceived to fit into the scheme of the United Stets political infrastructure. No one perspective covers each point that I believe is important and accurate, and no one party can represent all the ideals of every constituent, but understanding who makes the decisions in this country is key to understanding how to change the decisions that are being made to cause latent dysfunctions in our economy. Signing off, but never offline!

Written by: Eugene Stanley

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The Rise of an Empire: Cinco De Money 2

When we speak of legends, from the Hip Hop perspective, we must all agree that each city has its own acclaimed Hall of Fame. Well, because I’m from Chicago, allow me to expose you to one phenomenal emcee from our global city here in the Midwest region of the United States. This is going to be a bit unorthodox for you traditional suckas, but we’re going to give a big up to one of our own while he can still smell the flowers. I’m sure, after seeing the manifestation of his supporters, that he understands the love that the city has for him, but I believe it’s time to knock down the barriers on communication. Ty Money actually gave the recipe in one of the songs I’m about to review when he said, “we’ve been sleeping for 400 years straight; think it’s time to wake please…” So with that said, lets show Ty Money what we are going to take from his highly anticipated and demanded mixtape, Cinco De Money 2.

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Before we dive right into this piece, it’s important to understand the history behind this amazing artist. Ty Money actually represents Harvey World, but I personally don’t agree with the geographical divides that came into place because of the hyper-gentrification of Chicago’s public housing communities. Harvey, Illinois is a part of Chicago, and we definitely are going to finesse those boundaries to be able to claim this amazing brother as our own. This artist has most certainly earned his keep, and has labored to gain his position as one of the city’s most prospective and creatively explosive artists, period. Money and his brother I.D. joined together in 2005 to form the power rap group, Firesquad. Fast forward to Summer of 2015 when he dropped Cinco De Money vol. 1, where he brands his unique and particular sound that launches him into the platform of next guy up for the entire Midwest region. After spending time with Yassin Bey (Formerly known as Mos Def), and dropping the extremely conscious track United Center afterward, I was very curious to know whether Ty Money would spill some of the heightened black awareness into his music, and I must say that I am not dissatisfied; this album was monumental, and I believe it contains a healthy balance of the positive and negatives that come with being from the hood. Being a revolutionary writer, and an activist, I have a very low filter for fuck music, and I have a strong dislike for the content that makes up the Chicago Drill scene. I was happy to hear story lines, artistry, mixtures in creative content; all of the differences that made albums of the 90’s so classic.

            I decided to review 3 songs from his project, and instead of just adding fancy words to describe what I want you to believe the song is about, I’m going to break down exactly what he is saying, then put it into perspective so it can be used to understand the choices that are children are poised with on a daily basis. The first song, and be advised that this order bears not merit to my ordering on the quality of each song, is God got Us, which was produced by Y. F. Beatz. The second song that I’m going to review is What They Taught Me, which was produced by RioMac. Lastly, I’ll provide a review of How, which was also produced by RioMac.

In God Got Us, which features a deep hypnotic bass line, with a simple chord, and the artist compliments with calmly energetic rhyme scheme that befits what the intro to a mixtape is supposed to sound like. The lesson to be learned from this song is that we all need to do some individual prioritizing; in all this work towards perfection, we must never forget to keep faith, and also acknowledge God for bringing us through all of the trials and tribulations that we have encountered. Ty Money starts the song off by dropping the greatest jewel so far this year by saying, “Get some money, f*** the hype n****. Walk by faith, not by sight n****. Flexing around the wolves, that’s not right n****…” This brings us to the place where we begin to ask about the moral fabric of these deviant citizens, who live by street laws, as opposed to state mandated laws. The question being whether religion has a sufficient effect on curbing violence and plight in minority communities here in the United States, or whether a more effective institution of socialization is needed.

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Institutions of Socialization

Whether or not churches have the ability to curb violence in the community, it is apparent that these urban deviants do still hold sound beliefs in God, but reject the authority or persuasion of the church. Not to stray too far from the subject, but that is a reality in these communities that have been affected by violence, that is manifest derivative of economic and social disparity that is prevalent in minority communities. This brings us to the question of how we develop and diffuse the sets of morals that will bring about the behaviors that we hope to see in the future leaders of our people. With all of the violence that is associated with our youth, Money validates this generational attraction to mischief, and how experience and maturity help to curve these behaviors when he spits, “I den been to jail, came home, got shot, caught a cause, so now I do a lot of cooling…” The question that I propose after here this testimony is how do we encourage young minority men to see the benefits of developing habits that help to decrease the probability of them ending up in troublesome situations and dangerous environments.

Further expounding on the some of the moral sets that are popular in the urban music community here in Chicago, Ty Money captivates us with his single worthy track, What They Taught Me, which is spread evenly over a mellow and smoke ready melody. The key lesson behind this track is honor, and in the song, Ty exposes several of the key guidelines and laws that are stressed to young minority men in urban communities here in the U.S. In the hook he raps, “Get money, fuck b*****s, tote itchy, pour liquor, little n**** don’t back from no n****. That’s just what they taught me…” In this segment of the track, we can identify urban hustle in his reference to getting money, which establishes urban hustling as an important trait in minority communities.

Black Men Fighting For Honor

He also references the trait of honor, by proclaiming that he wouldn’t back down from anyone, regardless of who they were. This isn’t an isolated characteristic, and might provide a glimpse into misconceptions with our youth around the definition of honor; a misconception that may contribute to situations that account for a portion of our city’s high crime rate. And like many Hip Hop songs in circulation, there are references to sex and alcohol, tools that urban deviants use to numb the stress caused by social factors associated with poverty stricken communities. This is a testament to the desensitization of sex by promiscuous sexual saturation on mainstream media outlets, especially including the music and film industries. Unlike critics of the promiscuous nature of the music industry, I do not place sole blame for this desensitization of sex on these male entertainers, but I blame institutions of socialization, and also the women who, without their participation, could make the fad of casual sex disappear.

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Money also takes this song into a deeper community analysis when he expounds his verse on the perspectives of simple-minded individuals made smoking, eating and having sex a priority. He also expounds on his skepticism and distrust, that was taught to him by his mother (nurture-socialization), that serves as a defense mechanism or mechanism of survival for these underserved minority citizens. Things me to an experience of my own, where I went to Seattle, and experienced culture shock. It wasn’t a situation where I was thrown into a pack of wolves and torn apart. On the contrary, I was brought from a place where distrust kept you alive, to a place where every said hi and openly solicited their friendship. This was a great observation presented by Ty, but even more impressive was his take on the advice given by leaders and elders from his community. In this story, he tells of the advice by elders to not live life so fast and loud, and that by staying discrete about his ventures, he would set himself for more long-term successes. In this line, he also exposes a latent benefit to living a more discrete lifestyle; making himself less of a target for predators in the community. According to Money, they also instilled in him the requirement to assess the productivity of individuals that he places in his network, because inefficient relationships become more of a liability then a benefit. Ok, we have established the depth of his perspectives on priorities and moral sets, but how critical is Ty on his own culture, from the perspective of objective introspection?

Well Accomplished  

Well, from my opinion, Ty Money did not just do this, but he did it in the boldest and most eloquent manner, by posing critical thought provoking questions for consumers to ponder on. The thesis for this song, as I perceive it is actually a statement prompting peers in his culture to objectively assess themselves. In this proposition, he exposes his perception that young minorities have become complacent, and have failed to set goals in the culture that promote long term success for the culture, as well as the entire race of people of African descent here in the United States. Money begins his proposal by asking, “How you at the mall, pocket full of swipes: baby out of wipes? Card cracker turned rapper; caught a fraud case, now you wanna write.” Can you see the profoundness of this questioning? Money has set the bar for critical thinking, and the application of logical thought when assessing one’s self in the pursuit of personal progress. He also questions the increasingly dominant trend of individuals seeking to capitalize in the music industry off of the credit of having criminal backgrounds and involvement.

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I personally see this trend as being a product of post traumatic slavery disorder, paired with the continuous neglect by African Americans to unify beyond imposed class divides, to address the effects caused by the instability of African American households; a direct derivative of the institutional plights that have been inflicted upon our race by white america. Most important to this subject, is the evident internalization of norms by African Americans; norms that were created by racist and imperialist white america. The fact that I have been able to dive so in depth into the content within this song, and I haven’t gone pass the first 4 bars in the song, is the reason why you must download this mixtape in the link provided below, and give this project (especially this song) a try! This song is really the manifestation of what I wanted to see from Ty Money after his time building with Yassin Bey; a song dedicated to the advance of the critical thought of young minorities in america. Go download that project now dammit. Geno signing off, but never offline; enjoy!

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Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/tiwan.dirtybirds?fref=ts

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ty-Money-172494749451707/?fref=ts

Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/TyMoneySBMG

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/tymoneysbmg/

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/tiwan-tymoney-sbmg-dirtybirds

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ty-money/id303280162

Google Play:
They Aint Doin Shyt (Remix) ft. Mac Mili – https://play.google.com/music/preview/Agnyqoxxotwtpormt63ourabvmi?u=0#

Reader Article: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ty-money-tiwan-raybon-cinco-mixtape-rap-hip-hop-harvey/Content?oid=21007766

Live Mixtapes:
Cinco De Money vol. 1: http://indy.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/34051/ty-money-cinco-de-money.html
Cinco De Money vol. 2: http://indy.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/39565/ty-money-cinco-de-money-2.html

Ty Money – Billboard.com – United Center: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/6777151/ty-money-laquan-mcdonald-murder-united-center-video

RioMac Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RioMacHSP?ref=br_rs

Y.F. Beats SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/yfbeats-1