Do Better Thursday: Politics & Prose

It was suppose to be simple this week…

There was low traffic on the “Doing It Wrong” radar… just a couple of blips…

So, the plan was to post up the State of the Union Address for those who didn’t get a chance to catch it yet… Follow that clip with one of Barack’s response to Bush’s State of the Union Address from 2007… and close out the political portion with Dr. Cornel West’s Note to Obama and boom! throw a couple videos of some other folks doing it right… done.

But no…

Soon after Barack delivered his 1st SOTU address, Chris Matthews stated “I forgot he was Black for an hour” and without examining the context Twitter runs wild with “WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN!?!” and “CHRIS MATTHEWS IS AN ASS!!!” or “WHAT TYPE OF SH!T IS THAT!?!”


*deep breath*

Maybe it was because we were all hyped off the notion that King Obama had just spoken to the nation that we were on HYPER alert… (that’s the H.oller Y.ell P.unish E.verything R.acist alert) …and possibly misread the intel received via text, tweet, status or the classic phone call that another old white man said something about our leader… and like yellow jackets when the queen is in distress we must attack with blind rage and fury… I mean… who could blame us… it’s the 1st time a black man has stood in front of Congress and delivered the SOTU as the Leader of the Free World…

Perhaps, we were still on edge after Harry Reid stated what we ALL were thinking as we cast our vote for #44… that the brother had a fighting chance because he was “light-skinned black man with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one”… maybe it was just too soon… too soon, Brother Matthews to say such a thing, at such a time…

We were too busy strutting… high-fiving… completely ignoring Obama’s suggestion of working with those across the aisle for the benefit of a greater tomorrow by bragging “take that you punk ass Republicans…” Yes, we were still doing our endzone dance when right as they were going to ask us what we were going to do next… and just before we could say, “Gonna go cash this stimulus check and then I’M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!!!” …the anchor blurted out…

“I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It’s interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and past so much history, in just a year or two. I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he’s an African American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is president of the United States and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don’t think terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It’s so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way.”

We stopped the celebration… and we pounced.

Now before you ask, “what the hell else were we supposed to do!?!”, aside from the “post-racial” comment…

  • What exactly did he say that warranted a virtual lynching?
  • Is his argument not in-line with “one day live in a nation where (we) will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of (our) character”?
  • Do we not struggle each day to be evaluated on our work ethic opposed to being an ethnic at work?
  • Are our eyes so blinded by the centuries of struggle we are unable to believe the glimmer of light down the tunnel?
  • Is everything a white person says about our character a back-handed comment?
  • Have we suffered so much abuse that we reject the an offer of embrace?

Just because he said “I forgot he was black for an hour” doesn’t mean that we have to… never should we, never will we… What it does mean is that for about an hour, he saw beyond the color of his President, he saw the convictions of his President… and that is something I hope we all will do with one another… not just an hour at a time… but for a lifetime.

thank you for doing better,

– dre’ of

P.S. – the rest of the “Politics & Prose” post will be delivered later this evening… 🙂

UPDATE: Chris Matthews defends his point on Rachel Maddows show.

Do Better Thursday: Doing It Right! – 01.15.10 to 01.21.10

Doing It Right!
  • Grammy nominated rapper/singer/writer Phonte and partner-in-crime DJ Brainchild return to Gordon Gartrell Radio. It’s been awhile for these brothers… 5 months to be exact, but who’s counting? They kick the new year off as “Phonte discusses his first Grammy nod, Tiger Woods’ biggest mistake, the end of Little Brother, and Satan’s horrible taste in music.” So there is some bittersweet news, however, in the end good music lives on. If you’re in the know… get back on it! If you’ve never experienced Gordon Gartrell Radio, you’re welcome. 😉
  • People across the nation stepped up and volunteered on MLK Day. Here in the Nation’s capitol, DC Greater Cares “engaged over 3,000 volunteers in service at 71 schools and nonprofits across the region.” Having participated in the event, I must say it was a success! People from all ages, races, creeds, incomes and any other census statistics came out to give a hand. Activities included: painting of classrooms and lockers, creating murals with inspirational quotes, setting up library and reading corners, organizing and shelving books, and other tasks. It was a great way to remember a great man. 
  • Young man is told his alma mater isn’t one of the schools that will be displayed on the walls of a local elementary, he finds a way. Typically, I don’t like to insert myself into a “Do Better Thursday” post but this story must be shared. Upon arrival of my volunteer destination I was informed that I would be helping in the Spanish class. Without much information of my options, I decided to go with the flow and proceeded to the Spanish classroom with my group. Our leader realized she had too many participants and mulled over other options for us. In an eureka moment she exclaimed, “Bathrooms!” At this point, I had no idea what bathrooms meant… but I for damn sure wasn’t going volunteer my time to scrub no toilets. Getting up at 7:30 on a holiday to play scrubbing bubbles wasn’t exactly my idea of service. I mean, if it was “volunteer at the local public restroom day,” then OK cool. However, I felt my “abilities” were being underutilized, I get enough of that at work so I wasn’t going for that jive. It was then that I recalled hearing something about painting college logos. That was it! I was on a mission to find out where the cool kids were. After some snooping, I located the leader-of-the-logos and asked, “Hey, I’m interested in painting Howard’s logo, where are the supplies?” After some hesitation, I was told where to secure a canvas, pencils, paint, brushes and transparences. “Transparences???” The leader explained, “Yes, transparences to place on the projector, so you can copy them onto your canvas. But, uhm, I’m sorry… we don’t have Howards, that’s at the other schools. You’ll have to choose from these.” She handed my a bunch of schools I didn’t attend nor could care to. There was only one school I was going to put on the wall and that was Howard. “No worry, I’ll just try it free hand.” “You sure???” she asked confused. “Of course, I’m a Bison.” I really don’t know where all this loyalty and determination came from but I ran with it. Sprinted back to cool kids area and set out to create my beloved schools logo. Thanks to the trusty iPhone I downloaded the image and got down with the get down…
The goal…
The 1st attempt…
2nd attempt… Doing Better…
I’m saying… it was free hand… and at this point they said we had 20 minutes left…
OK, so it looks like Howard UniversIIy… the kids will still know!
So, I was still feeling great about my work…
…until a good friend and organizer of the event sent me this picture from another school.
Not bad… not bad. Go HU! 😉
Oh, and “Bathrooms” meant painting the stalls, I guess I could have applied my “skills” to that effort.
thank you for doing better,

– dre’ of

Do Better Thursday: Doing It Wrong! – 01.15.10 to 01.21.10

“Doing It Wrong…”
  • Basketball league seeks to level the playing field by making it “Whites Only.” OK, last I checked this wasn’t from The Onion and is indeed true. The league commissioner, Don “Moose” Lewis, states racism has nothing to do with having an all-white league. “There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing, I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like. Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch? That’s the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.” The Do Better Movement would like to apologize, we’ve decided the level of ignorance of this situation is far too high to directly respond. Simply posting it is enough.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
  • Wondering what happens when commercial rap meets “next day loan” services??? Look no further than Mo’ Money Taxes. No really… Mo’ Money Taxes and not these Mo’ Money cats. The Do Better Movement, once again, would like to apologize for not directly addressing this issue. The “Negro Dialect” content exceeded our expectations, time and resources to adequately respond. Also, we regret to inform that you will hear Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come” in the ad. It is advised to take a moment of silence after viewing.
¿Se Habla Español?
  • Two actors formerly of respectable sitcoms return to the small screen to premiere… this??? Tuesday night TVOne presented America with “Love That Girl” starring Tatyana Ali and executive produced by Martin Lawrence. Where to begin… I watched 1.33 episodes of the 2-episode premiere train wreck and I should have stopped long before then. Around the time the ultra-flamboyant-stereotyped-out homosexual couple appeared on screen is when I should have decided to Do Better. Nothing to do with the sexuality that was portrayed on screen, it was the manner in which it was done. Imagine twin Robin Williams in Birdcage to-the-max in every shot they appeared. I kept on… quickly there was another opportunity to jettison the TV. The central character, played by Ali, visits her fathers real estate office and is rudely confronted by the receptionist. If I was watching with my sisters the cord would have been yanked out of the wall and The Autobiography of Malcolm X would have been cracked opened and recited. Now I’m guilty of this, however I dislike the use of the word “ghetto” as an adjective. As long as I’ve known the word, it has been and still is a noun;  not a characterization of a person, thing or action. I loathe the day it’s announced that the definition of the word has officially been expanded as such…I know it’s coming. With that said, her loud, lewd, short-sighted and ignorant antics are synonymous with term “ghetto.” Moving on… the TV steady going. The father is introduced as a tough and successful real estate agent. Great! Something positive and worthwhile, there’s hope yet! That hope was quickly dashed, it turns out the brilliant father real estate agents database is a phone book. Now that might not be a big thing but it was the needle that broke the camels back. In 2010, where kids have cell phones at age 5 because of the chance of an “emergency,” why in the hell would a writer think having a real estate that uses a phone book would be funny??? I damn sure didn’t laugh… and I actually yelled out “Are you f##k!n@ serious???” when I saw a typewriter on his desk. Yet, the TV remained lit and channel unchanged. During this time they solidified Ali’s shiftless brother, who lives on her couch, as indeed shiftless. Enough is enough. I’m not sure the goal of this series. Outside of the theme song, I find no redeeming qualities. The creator, writer, director, saboteur Bentley Kyle Evans said that he shopped his show to BET first and they passed it up. How bad must a show be if BET says “No thanks, we’re good with destroying Black America with what we’ve got going.” Evans also stated that he’s following the footsteps of Tyler Perry. The 4 episodes sold to TVOne for $1.2 million (apparently half the cost of ONE! “so-so” sitcom on a major network) were shot in a total of 5 days. If there’s one thing this show has gotten right it’s the Tyler Perry method of sitcom. Thanks, we needed more of that. *fade out*
On behalf of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson: Please Do Better. 
to all those listed above…

do better,

– dre’ of

Do Better Thursday: Doing It Wrong! – 01.08.10 to 01.14.10

 “Doing It Wrong…”
  • Carlos “Actual” Allen admits to actually being invited to the actual White House State dinner. I was hoping this crashing mess would be over and done with the Salahis, but no Brother Allen has been revealed. I’ve actually tried to watch his explanation of his attendance to the actual state dinner but it’s hard to actually get through the whole clip. Not because I’m not interested in his story (actually, that is it…) but because he actually says “actual” damn near 50 times. I’d love to know the actual count… By the way Robin Roberts looks like she would like to be somewhere else… actually.
“Hey! Yo, it’s time to go party.” – Actual Jackson @ 7:30
  • Seahawks and Redskins invite Black coordinators to mock interviews. Recently, both the hiring of Pete Carroll in Seattle & Mike Shanahan in Washington have come under scrutiny in the media. In order to meet the “Rooney Rule” (a rule that mandates a minority must be interviewed before a coach is chosen) the teams appear to have interviewed Black candidates in a check-mark fashion. Over the past couple of days I’ve listened to friends defend the action with notions of “it’s not completely BS, they get the experience of being interviewed” and “the owners talk to each other and if they’re impressed they’ll pass on the good word.” Sorry these two instances are complete bullshit. In Washington the candidate’s boss, coach Jim Zorn, was STILL the coach when they interviewed him. And in Seattle they flew in the brother as an afterthought, “Oh, shit! Did we check off the Negro box???” I could go further with my rant on race in the NFL, but the focus of this “Do Better”Moment is for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Every time an athlete, typically of Negro lineage, decides to wear different color socks or shoelaces Goodell makes a stand that “we won’t tolerate such violations” in his league. Or a player is typing a tweet before he can press send, a text pops up “O RLY? That’ll be $10,000. – kthxbye, Uncle Roger.” The same man who upholds the anti-celebration stance on touchdowns has no comment on teams flying in Black “candidates” to do the Ickey Shuffle for naught? 
  “Ebony and mo’ Ebony
  • Woman goes to the Motherland, ends up on ComicView. When I first watched this clip I had no idea what was going on. Ko of posted the link on #thatsite, I simply clicked and followed. Apparently, a BBC show features 6 women spending one month with a remote tribe. In this clip, one women attempts to “fit in” with the ladies of a Namibian tribe and quite frankly, she bombs. It’s one of those you have to see it to believe. Honest moment: I laughed too. Leave a comment if you feel I was “doing it wrong” or “doing it right” by laughing.
  • NFL Teams decide not to show up for the playoffs, waste their spots and your time. Good riddance to the Bengals, Eagles and Patriots! Thanks for wasting a good portion of my weekend. There is a silver lining however, I was able to stumble upon two of the “Doing It Right” moments of this week!
Hey, Bengals & Pats… Her beloved Texans would have done better! Do Better.

to all those listed above…

do better,

– dre’ of

Do Better Thursday: Doing It Right! – 01.08.10 to 01.14.10

Doing It Right!
  • Sid the Science Kid to the rescue!!! Another PBS savior during the playoffs was Sid the Science Kid. I’m not sure if it was due the HD clarity, the locks he rocked, or the fact he seemed to have “knocked-knees” but I was captivated by his hunger for knowledge with his fellow Playdoh* structured friends. After watching two episodes (yes, I watched two… I had to figure out if they really made him “knocked-kneed”) I was surprised to find out that his parents appeared to be multiracial. There’s a possibility that I’m reading too much into it but I’m not the only one. Anyway, to those parents out there with young children, Sid the Science Kid is Do Better Approved! Plus, he rocks a mic wherever he goes! That’s hip-hop! (Whaaaaa???)
“My mic sounds nice, check 1…”
I’m just saying… this is his family… It’s 2010… OBAMA!!!
  • Controversial former president of Howard University, Dr. James E. Cheek passes. Some may complain about his methods or his social / political affiliations, however there’s no denying the impact he had on the prestigious institution. Under the 20 years of his tenure from 1968 to 1989, the schools enrollment increased by 3,500 and the budget leaped from $43 million to $417 million. Along the way new schools and colleges were created during his time at the Mecca. It would be an injustice if the son of a Howard alum and professor, who graduated and taught while Cheek was in office, didn’t pay respect. Especially if that son is also an alum. Thank you.
 Dr. James Edward Cheek (Dec. 4, 1932 – Jan. 8, 2010)
  • NBC wants to play games with Late Night schedule, Coco goes puff! You all know what’s going on… I hope… here’s a sampling of the Late Night Fights. Click for Conan’s letter to people of earth and check out the videos below. By the way, the Do Better Movement is officially #TeamConan
Conan’s lists his options…

It’s true, Conan’s a ho’.

Jimmy Kimmel chimes in…
thank you for doing better,

– dre’ of

Do Better Thursday: Doing It ??? – Levi’s Soapbox "Mis-Reid"

Doing It??? 
Editor’s Note: This weeks “Doing It???” moment will be address by Levi Daniels “Levi’s Soapbox”… Enjoy…

Mis-Reid By Levi F. Daniels

So by now I’m sure you’ve heard the reporting of and commentary about the statements made by Sen. Harry Reid to one of the authors of “Game Change”.  Strangely enough, given the confidence under which these remarks were made, I am reminded of the old adage, “discretion is the better part of valor.” But in a society seemingly overrun with people submitting their every incoherent brain fart in 140 character increments, either the old adage is wrong or valor ain’t so important anymore.

But I digress; let’s take a brief moment to examine what Mr. Reid said.  When asked what he thought of Obama’s chances as a presidential candidate, Reid stated Obama was a “light-skinned black man with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one”.  The statement is of course very telling.  From the first portion we can easily discern that Harry Reid is sighted.  Otherwise how else would he know that Obama was in fact a light-skinned black man?  That man has a kung-fu grip of the obvious.  The second part of the statement tells us that Mr. Reid actually hears quite well.  Not only was he able to note that Mr. Obama not only speaks in a manner becoming a Senator but that he also has a keen ability to code switch.  This very observation teeters more on profundity than racism.  Now I know what you’re thinking, “But that’s not that POINT! What the *expletive* is a Negro Dialect?!?”  To which I respond, “C’mon Son!”  From Paul Lawrence Dunbar to Ed Lover we are all well aware of what a Negro dialect is even if we wouldn’t call it that.

Are we just arguing semantics?  Honestly, what did Reid say, that at its core, was incorrect or improper?  Actually before you answer, let’s get a few things out of the way.  We do not live in a post racial United States.  For every T-Shirt, website and poster using Obama’s image to invoke Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” there are hundreds of news articles, images, and video segments to the contrary.  Not to mention the desperate conditions prevalent in minority and poor (that’s right these are mutually exclusive conditions) communities across the US. So, again I ask, what did Reid say that was so wrong or any different that what we’ve said amongst ourselves?  Every honest self respecting Black person has admitted at some point or another that a darker skinned Black man would be a tough sell to all of America irrespective or his credentials.  Moreover, these same self-respecting Black people would not dream of their child or anyone with whom they were affiliated walking into a professional setting speaking in vernacular, slang, or any variation therein.  They would find the suggestion a bit embarrassing, damning and maybe even regressive.  As a matter of fact, I remember a wave a fear coming over me when I saw Obama walk in a fashion I recognized as uniquely “urban” when he met Biden on stage after he accepted the VP nomination. Ultimately, others noticed but little was said nationally.  In truth, the real issue speaks to a statement made by Eric Holder early in his tenure as Attorney General, America is scared to talk about race.  But not just White America, all of America is to some degree terrified of the subject. That is because a true discussion requires the airing of not only other’s dirty laundry but yours as well.  So, I suppose, all I ever really ask whenever America gets on her high horse “Condemnation” (by the way could you imagine that name over the loud speakers at the Preakness) is that she takes a moment to take stock of her own behavior.  Real honest self-reflection shows us that we are all of capable of potentially regrettable behavior and in turn reveals to us either the innate qualities or external forces preventing said behavior.  Thus, in closing we call upon the wisdom of the fallen king of pop to bring sense to an otherwise maddening world.

– Levi F. Daniels

Do Better Thursday – Commentary: Ordaley Bread "Do B.E.T.ter"

(Please welcome contributor Ordale J. Allen to the Do Better Movement family.)
Do B.E.T.ter by Ordale J. Allen
“Here’s our chance to make it, if we focus on our goal. You can dish it, we can take it. Just remember that you’ve been told: It’s a different world, then where you come from.

2010 is here and I gotta say it feels a lot like 1960. A product of DC Public Schools, I spent every February helping the teacher break out the old projector and play those Black History filmstrips with the accompanying record narrated by someone who himself sounded like a slave.

Back in the 60’s we were never on television unless we were playing a mammy, a stereotype, in blackface or just being the buffoon for comic relief. Apparently Black people didn’t like that. In the 90’s we put that behind us. We had Martin, Roc, Living Single, The Sinbad Show, In the House, The Fresh Prince, In Living Color, A Different World, The Cosby Show, Thea, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, Family Matters, Amen, NY Undercover, and the list goes on. Talk shows: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Arsenio, Vibe, and Magic Johnson. We even had black cartoons. MC Hammer had a cartoon, Salt-N-Pepa, Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson (Prostars), Kid n’ Play…they were giving out black shows back then.

Then something happened. It’s kinda like the dinosaurs. No one knows for sure what happened, but science is working to figure it out. From what we can tell, the Black world of entertainment was destroyed by at least two entities: BET and Tyler Perry Productions! Now that is coonery at the highest level. I mean, if you’re not at least a level four African-American, you don’t even want to come into contact with either of those. I’m serious. If you take one follicle of Tyler Perry’s hair and mix it with one drop of water from the fountain at BET, in three days you’ll have a slave.

For the sake of humanity we have to keep BET and Tyler Perry separate. They cannot come into contact with each other. If Meet the Browns or House of Payne airs on BET, the moon will fall out of the sky. It’ll be like crossing the streams on Ghostbusters or feeding a gremlin a midnight snack while giving him a bath. So all jokes aside, if you see Tyler Perry anywhere near 106 and Park or maybe you see him walking down the street over on the Brentwood side of DC where BET’s headquarters is…Chris Brown that dude! Forget do better; you’ll be doing best if you take him out on sight.

So anyway, back to my original point: Where are the Black shows in 2010. I don’t have cable. I didn’t need cable in 1995 to see a Black show. I shouldn’t need it now.  You know who I blame? Obama! I like Obama, I really do. I wouldn’t have stood out in six degree weather for ten hours on Inauguration Day if I didn’t. I’d be the first to hit a Coming to America move and put that brother on a quarter or something. I’m just mad that someone voted to trade all of our Kool-Aid points for one Black president. It’s like that dumb little kid on the playground who trades all his toys for one sticker. I’ll trade you the Teen Summit era of BET, UPN, all the good Black shows, Michael Jackson and credit for the first Black golfer if you give me one Black President. Oh, and I want a Disney cartoon where the main character is Black and you can’t Cleveland Show me and use auditory-blackface either like they did in the Lion King.


We gotta do better!
– Ordale J. Allen