Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
to raise money for the Jena Six Defense Fund, but those kids already have enough loot. I could also tell you I'm going to use the proceeds of these lovely shirts (including special AverageSis™ designs just for the ladies) to benefit the various community outreach organizations I'm a part of. I could say the money from those nifty AB.com mousepads is going to save the starvin' chill'rens in Africa, but that too would be misleading.
Reality is, I just want your money. Period.
How else am I supposed to support my family and cop that new pair of Stephon Marbury sneakers I've had on layaway since the 05-06' NBA season? How else am I supposed to get my
daily occasional Jamba Juice fix? What do ya'll want me to do, get a weekend job pushing carts at Target to pickup the slack? Flood this site with all kinds of banner and pop-under ads? I don't wanna have to take it there.
Freedom ain't free, and neither are legal music downloads. Help me stay on the right side of the law by so I don't have to take penitentiary chances to keep bringing you the world famous blend of wit and wisdom that made AB.com the Black Weblog Awards' "Blog To Watch".
[Editor's Note: In case you were wondering if I've lost my black mind, the proceeding message was indeed sprinkled with satire. I am not broke, I can control my JambaJuice urges, and I already got the Starbury's off layaway just last week. But make no mistake: I do want your money. Hit up the store and cop somethin'.]
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
is crying inside.
because they're always issues where we're being asked to do something passive (forwarding an email) and/or reactive (jamming phone lines). I advocate being aggressive and proactive by trying to treat the problem itself, not its eventual symptoms.
Sometimes this comes off as being severely hateristic and I know that often undermines my points. What can I say, I just have my opinions on the best way of going about getting things done. Everybody has their cause. Some people want to get BET shut down, but personally I don't think having 106th and Park off the air is going to do a damn thing to improve the state of young Black America if half of Black America can't even read. That's just my opinion of course, and everyone else is entitled to theirs.
A wise man once said, "if you're given 15 minutes, are you going to use it to keep your people asleep or to wake them up?" As this blog has continued to grow in popularity and exposure, I've found myself often confronted with the question of just what the mission of AB.com is. Why am I consistently dropping 2-3 solid posts a day, often at the expense of family time and sometimes to the detriment of my Day Job? Is it just to provide you guys with a few minutes of relief and an occasional laugh as your scarf down your lunch? I sure as hell hope not, because there's already more than enough other stuff on the web that already fills that void. No, I surely hope I'm being used by God to provide something more. Between all the jokes, I hope I'm doling out food for thought that somehow causes my readers to reconsider how they view certain things. If I'm falling short of this, holler at me in the comments, because maybe I've got some soul searching to do.
I've thought about this more and more in the past few weeks, and it finally occurred to me that I should state this website's mission as clearly as possible. Many people visit this blog daily, and I hope I can maybe, just maybe convince some of you to consider doing something, anything to help the next generation of kids coming behind us. This could be as simple as tutoring, mentoring, coaching your favorite sport, volunteering to help teach Sunday school, or just taking that wayward kid in your neighborhood under your wing.
Call me pessimistic, but I'm convinced that most adults, hell, most teenagers, are a lost cause that don't deserve your time or energy. If somebody's 25 and eff'ed the eff up, chances are they'll be 45 and eff'ed the eff up too. Sometimes it's just too late to be bothered. So, aim lower and work with the kids. But don't look for instant gratification, because you probably won't get it.
My parents raised me and my two brothers with the sense that serving others is not "giving back", it's an obligation, not charity. I watched them both sacrifice time, money, and energy to benefit the community we lived in. My mother ran a youth scholarship pageant for teenage girls and boys that infused kids from families in which nobody had ever graduated from high school with the understanding of the importance of self-determination and advanced education. I watched my Dad quietly take other (often fatherless) kids under his wing, and haul them along with his own children to play basketball (which he coached informally) or go fishing. They never did these things for acclaim or money, and never did them at the expense of their own family, but I saw a sense of purpose in both of them that said "I've made it, and I am obligated to help others just as someone helped me."
My two older brothers and I grew to understand the level of sacrifice involved in helping others. I started tutoring and coaching youth basketball as a freshman in college. Years later, I still find a way to do both, despite having a challenging career and a growing family. I don't do this to get in the newspaper. There is no immediate reward for spending your Saturday mornings with other people's children. I do it because it has to be done, and if not by me, then by whom?
I've also at various points in time participated in youth mentoring programs, church programs that "renovated" low income apartments, pre-marital awareness classes, parenting courses, adult literacy campaigns, and neighborhood watch. I'm sure this sounds like a huge committment time-wise, but really, we're only talking a few hours a week, and never at the expense of my own family. It's not really that hard, and it's usually pretty fun too. Coaching a winning basketball team of 5th graders is good stuff. Sure, it's service, but that doesn't mean you don't get something out of it for yourself.
So take The AverageBro Challenge™. Do something. Anything. It's not hard, and you never know whose life you might make better with the slightest amount of effort. The true changes needed to elevate our community take time, sacrifice, and commitment, not just a Black President and a few forwarded emails. Don't just talk about the problem, be a part of the solution.
I hope you'll join me. The next generation is waiting on you.
Question: Can you join AB and Friends in taking The AB.com Challenge™ to improve our communities, one kid at a time? If you're already doing something similar, please share your story below in the comments to inspire others and let them know just how easy it is to sacrifice your time and make a difference.
 Wondering who the wise man of note is? The legendary Chuck D, of course.
 No need to lie, losing sucks. It's much more fun to win. Winning roolz.
? Yes, even Hispanics, who have their obvious issue of ESL. And no, the lil' sistas aren't faring much better. This achievement gap, of course isn't unique to PG County, it's a national problem, but you probably didn't even know that since we're more worried about trivial shit like nooses and washed up talk radio hosts.
Where the hell is the march for that one? I'm waitin' Rebb'n Al, but I won't hold my breath. I know you have other, more pressing issues on your plate. Like that side of rib tips.
None of this really adds up, but part of me wonders if this county, intent on flexing it's relatively new (PG was majority white just a decade or so ago) political muscle just hired dudes like Hornsby without giving all candidates, regardless of race, a fair shake. As in many majority black cities/jurisdictions across the nation, PG sees having blacks in positions of power as being a necessity, and thus most high level political appointees (like schools superintendent and chief of police) generally tend to be black.
I'm not saying these black candidates aren't always qualified, but Hornsby came to town with a spotty track record from his two prior jobs in New York City. There, he had been accused of improperly taking a golf trip and a hand-held computer from companies that did business with his school system. But of course, since PG seems to be all about keeping up appearances, they hired the guy anyway. Lo and behold, he didn't even last two years on the gig before being unceremoniously ushered out for the very same sorta thing.
I don't pretend to know how difficult it is to hire a superintendent of schools, but chances are, where there's smoke, there's fire. PG County schools conveniently overlooked this and just ended up getting burned yet again.
After years and years of apparently hiring folks just cause they're black (yeah, I said it), the school system seemingly broke with their sullied tradition and (allegedly) hired the best man for the job this time. Surprise of all surprises, he just happens to be white.
I wish him the best, for the sake of AverageMentee, and the county as a whole.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
, I'd say October has hardly been a banner month for Black America. C'mon Halloween. Hurry.
Of course, Barack Obama: Current Mouthpiece Of Black America™, is seizing the moment to
prove that he's down with the peoples because he needs some of that black vote refute Tanner's comments and call for his ouster. That just might be Barry's best move since he accepted that invitation to Boston (which was maybe his only good move?), but it
. Well, the girl can SANG too, so, like so many other celebrities, she has decided to cross over into the music industry. I know we have some naysayers in the in the audience but TRUST, she is the truth- a triple threat- actor, singer, song-writer. But she's getting hemmed up against the ropes.
Keke Palmer is the poster child for what's wrong with the music industry. Imagine being 12 year's old and Atlantic Records trying to mold Keke in the mold of Lil Kim or Foxy Brown.So, after reading this, I was ecstatic to learn that a clean, high-quality hip-hop CD actually existed! I had to check it out for myself. Twelve tracks later, I vowed to do whatever I could to promote this CD. And here we are.
The problem is that the record label wants to market the 14 year old as a sexpot but she does not want that image. Keke admits "From the very beginning Atlantic's A&R representative tried to get me to record inappropriate music, and my parents and I resisted."
Keke is urban. So as long as [she and her parents] refused to record the raunchy tracks that [the A&R Rep] sent them, he refused to pay for the good clean music they brought him. At one point he even stopped Keke from recording by not paying for studio time, we will not promote her unless she records urban music.
Just for the record Keke is from the south side of Chicago . She grew up listening to Brandy, Aaliyah and TLC, so it was not like she was recording rock music! She was recording good music, with great beats, with good positive lyrics, her music is what all kids want to hear no matter where they live.
Keke's parents tried to promote the release in Chicago( her 北京体彩网官方网站town), they called the press on their own, and managed to get on some morning shows, but that was only in Chicago. Her debut cd that she worked so hard on sold 1,325 copies, the label supposedly shipped 69,000 copies… She was disappointed that the label refused to promote Keke , and now they are blaming her for poor sales, the label will not spend a dime to promote it because she refused to sing raunchy lyrics, and dares to call herself Pop/R&B and not urban / Hip-Hop.
I'm not gonna' lie. I was skeptical at first. After all, what can a 13-year-old tell ME about life?
A Track by Track Mini-Review:
"Keep it Movin" feat. Big Meech - Great start. But Bow Wow would have been her best choice. Probably a mistake for a newbie to try to break a no-name. Especially a no-name rapper. However, Keke's swagger overshadows his mediocre rhyme.
"Game Song" - Genius. Plain and simple. Ladies, if your man spends more time on X-Box than with you, you'll love this one.
"Music Box" - The first of two tracks that brought tears to my eyes. I was blown away by the political commentary she offers.
"First Crush" - This one will take you back to puppy love. Classic.
"Friend Me Up" - Cleverly gettin' at all those fair-weather friends.
"How Will I Know" - Straight up, this one had me strollin' down memory lane.
"Footwurkin" - Repping Chi-Town. Mike Baisden, Kanye, Common- where you at? Pub your girl! I'm curious to see what the dance looks like.
"Rainbow" - Simply beautiful.
"Bottoms Up" - Admittedly, I had a problem with this track. The title says it all. BUT, the beat is TIGHT!!!!!!!!!
"Skin Deep" - This one showed me how special she is. It's saying something when a 13-year old is able to focus on inner beauty.
"Wake Up Call" - Simple, light-hearted, feel-good track.
"Hood Anthem" - The second song that moved me to tears. The best, most uplifting description of the ghetto I've ever heard in my life. My favorite track.
This CD is a breath of fresh air. No skips.
So yes, Nelly and T.I., I agree with you but you clearly need to take a lesson from Miss Palmer. Stop selling us out. Man up and make some meaningful music. After all, aren't you SICK of pimpin' ho's and poppin' off glocks? Sorry, T.I. I guess that punch was below the belt. Hope you're surviving on the inside. Like AverageBro says, don't drop the soap!
Round One goes to Keke "the Truth" Palmer.
There is no belt to be earned from this bout. The purse is comprised of record sales, so go cop the CD like, now. And buy the kids their own copy.
Monday, October 22, 2007
A few months ago, when I changed positions [||] at the Day Job, I thought that one benefit of being back on the road would be the occasional 'brush with fame'. In my many years as a travelling consultant, I've been in literally every contiguous US state, and slipped across the Northern border to O' Canada a few times too. So, 'brushes with fame' became a regular way of life.
Nowadays? Not so much. The best I've been able to give you guys in the 3+ months since I established this tag is my brief crossing of paths with Scooter Libby. This was only notable because dude was in the news 24/7 when I ran into him. Today, if he was serving breakfast downstairs in the hotel I'm staying at this week, I probably wouldn't even recognize him.
So, to avoid the complete and outright elimination of this tag, I figure I'd put the onus on you guys to keep it on life support. And thus, I present the First Annual AB.com Brush With Fame Sweepstakes!!!
Leave a comment and give me your best Brush With Fame story. The winner gets a to-be-determined prize, but trust me, it will be worth it.
1) Your story must be completely consequential. Namely, going to a Busta Rhymes concert and just happening to see Busta Rhymes doesn't qualify.
2) Be interesting. I don't just want to hear "hey, I saw Tupac at the Mall". On second thought, seeing Tupac at the Mall might be interesting. Anyways, the best story has to be a good one.
3) Keep it clean. Ladies, I don't want to hear about the time you had sex with Bobby Brown (see photo). Fellas, no strip club stories. AB.com is strictly for the chill'rens, so any non-PG comments will be deleted.
4) Sign your name. Any name will do, but please don't post as anonymous, because how else would I know who you are? If you don't want to leave your personal biz for all the web to see, just shoot me an email with the subject Brush With Fame instead.
5) Hurry. Contest ends Friday.
Tell a friend to tell a friend. The winner of course gets the aforementioned to-be-determined prize, but I'll be sure to post the runners up as well.
Alright, now get to
Tags Popped: Observations
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
. This minor legal snafu didn't stop his co-horts from yelling "Free T.I.!" of course.
* Video Vixen Melyssa Ford comes out to present an award. Cue the "gratuitous ass shot" camera.
* Lil' Wayne performs his newest song. In between cleverly disguised drug analogies (cheese and ziti) he gets lazy and just blurts out the words "kill", "gun", and "murder". So much for censorship.
* Lil' Wayne wins an award, and since it's clearly one of his two weekends a month, proceeds to bring all 18 of his kids on stage with him to accept it. Of course, to toast the occasion, Wayne, who is also clearly very high, brings along a 20 ounce Styrofoam cup, filled with who knows what.
* Outkast's Big Boi, wins and award, and ends his thank yous with the immortal phrase "and we still in ya' jaw". I don't have any idea what that means, but I doubt it's a shoutout to his dentist.
* An assemblage of rappers named Titty Boy, Dollar Boy, and something else boy, join Lil' Wayne (yes, again) onstage to perform a song called "Little Dufflebag Boy". I have no idea what all this means, but I seriously doubt it's an ode to Samsonite.
* Outkast's Big Boi, wins another award, gives props to his son's 6 & Under youth football team for winning a game earlier in the day, and signals an impending celebration with the immortal phrase "it's gon' be some smoke in the city tonight". Pop Warner is crying inside.
* In the name of "see we told you we were fair and balanced", Common and Kanye West win a lions share of the awards. Neither seems to really give a sh*t.
* UGK's Bun B wins an award, thanks his wife and kids, and wisely tells the crowd to eschew violence at the after parties and instead to "go find somebody to lay with tonight".
* 1/3 of the Jena Six come onstage to give a shoutout to their Fellow Four, who for various reasons (incarceration, 北京体彩网官方网站work, and hopefully lack of parental sign-off) were unable to make it. I can't say much about this, because I was stuck on how these kids parents could let them, as modern day civil rights heroes (sike) come on stage with their pants saggin' to their asses. Spell "saggin" backwards, and that will give you some indication of what kinda nonsense this is. At least Katt Williams did say this was "in no way condoning a six on one attack". I bet Debra Lee wrote that one herself.
* Speaking of Debra Lee, she sat in a prominent seat on the front row the entire time and could be seen periodically gettin' crunk and wincing. Kinda, sorta, just like me as I watched from 北京体彩网官方网站.
* The climax (no pun intended) of the night comes when everyone's favorite one hit wonder of the moment, Soulja Boy, gets onstage and performs his hit, "Crank Dat Soulja Boy". This really saddens me, because as cool as the dance is for pre-teens, I can't help but shake at DailyMotion.com.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Here's more info from it's Wiki entry:
W.I.C. is a Federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for health care and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five. The eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. If a person who participates in other benefit programs, or has family members participate in the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, they automatically meet the eligibility requirements. This program is unrelated to the USDA's "Food Stamp" program.My wife (nicely) asks the woman why she would make the assumption that she needed to use W.I.C. to pay for baby food? The woman simply says it's store policy to ask first since they would otherwise have to void the order, but fails to provide any further explanation. My wife (nicely) asks her why she wasn't asked this very same question the other dozens of times she comes in, but the cashier (who is white, though it doesn't really matter) simply repeats the company line. A white man in line behind my wife witnesses the whole thing, but doesn't say anything. My wife finishes checking out, grabs the baby food and AverageBaby, and leaves the store.
WIC participants often receive a monthly check or voucher. In many poor areas, "WIC stores" exist that only sell food for vouchers issued by the state WIC program, and do not accept any other form of payment.
When she gets in the car, she thinks about it for a moment, and decides she just can't let it slide. She goes back in the store, receipt-in-hand, and heads to the customer service desk. She is virtually ignored for 5 minutes while the customer rep attends to an issue for a white customer. When she is finished, the customer service rep directs her attention to a white woman standing in line behind my wife.
Aw, hell naw!
My wife (nicely) interjects and lets the rep know she was in line first, and the rep (not so nicely) asks my wife "what's the problem?". My wife (nicely) asks the rep what the store policy is on asking people whether or not they are using W.I.C. The rep simply says "it's the store policy", without any further elaboration. My wife (nicely) asks to speak with the manager. 15 minutes elapse. The manager shows up, and when prompted, doesn't elaborate any further either. My wife notes the names of each person she has interacted with while in the store, and asks the manager for his last name and the number for their corporate office. He declines to provide either, and walks away.
Aw, hell naw!
My wife (who is irate by now), simply leaves the store, goes 北京体彩网官方网站, Googles the number for Giant Food's Corporate office, and dials in the complaint. She asks why this store seems to have a selectively enforced policy on asking people whether or not they are using a W.I.C., and whether or not they have ever considered that this might be, just slightly offensive to some shoppers. Corporate files the complaint and promises to call the store and discuss this issue with the manager, then report back to my wife.
End of story (for now).
I know some of you are probably reading this and thinking "what's the big deal?". The big deal is, why in the hell would a cashier look at my wife an assume we're in need of public assistance? My wife is a statuesque former college 北京体彩网官方网站coming queen and beauty pageant winner. She also (pre-AverageBaby) was a bank vice president. She is educated and intelligent. She is 北京体彩网官方网站 by choice, not by circumstance, because her husband (who is also intelligent and educated) can afford the luxury. She took the baby food outside and placed it in her Mercedes Benz. She drove the Mercedes Benz back to a half-million dollar 北京体彩网官方网站.
But all the cashier saw when she looked at her was a welfare mother.
She didn't see a dedicated mom raising a child prodigy. She didn't see a husband who works his ass off to ensure their child has the best opportunities to succeed in life. No, she just saw a welfare mom.
And since the store, at all turns confirmed that this was indeed a company policy, I can only assume that Giant Food doesn't look at my wife and see anything more than a welfare mom.
So, yeah. It's kind of a big deal to me.
I always tell you guys to pick your battles wisely. So, here's my challenge: don't keep letting sh*t slide.
Sometimes when you're black (or heck, any minority), oppression and discrimination are so much a part of everyday life that in a dysfunctional way (think battered woman's syndrome) they feel normal. Think about all the times you are followed as you shop in a store. Think about all the times you're completely ignored when you actually want help. Think about all the times you go to a restaurant and the hostess attempts to seat you at the rear, despite all the empty tables at the front. Men, think about all the times you board an airplane and get asked whether or not you play pro ball. Think about all the times in a store the person in line in front of you was greeted with a smile, while you were greeted with indifference.
Think about the welfare mom with the Benz.
I'm not asking for any letter writing campaign or a boycott of Giant Food. I'm not calling the NAACP or Al Sharpton to fly in and protest the Evil Grocery Empire. I'm sure as hell not asking you to consider us sympathetic victims (a la: Trent Benefield), because I will mess something up, and I don't need that hanging over my head.
Nope, we're going to do it all by the book. The complaint with Giant Food is filed, and we should have a response in a couple of days. I fully expect someone to apologize to my wife for making such an ignorant assumption, and furthermore, change the policy to ensure more customers aren't discriminated against in the name of speedy checkouts. In short, Giant's outlandish and stereotypical corporate policy needs to either be 1) universally enforced 2) modified to eliminate possible discrimination or 3) eliminated completely. If they can't do either of those, then we just might have a bigger problem on our hands. Stay tuned.
What should you take away from this? Call things out and don't just let them slide. Whether's you're talking about a $6/hour clerk or a multinational corporation like Giant Ahold, peoples' minds don't change unless they are challenged. If just you allow things to happen to you without checking folks, you are (in a way) just as guilty as the person discriminating against you. And if you're white and observe such an injustice, you have a duty to point it out as well. Unlike the white guy in line behind my wife who wouldn't retell his account of this incident to customer service when my wife asked him to. Punk ass *****.
Either way it doesn't matter, because Giant Food won't be getting my money anymore.