Gil Scott Heron’s Death (April 1949-May 2011)

Although many people have been saying that this is simply a rumour, it is in fact true that Gil Scott Heron passed away. He was more than just a musician. In addition Heron was a spoke word poet and author who used his music to get political messages across. His poetic style was one that influenced almost every type and sub genre of Hip Hop ever since his popularity, including those that are popular today.

I was fortunate enough to see him perform in concert not even a year ago last Summer, and I can honestly say that it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. Although he had a high association with black militant groups and was arrested on many occasions as a result, I did expect the crowd to be predominantly black. To my surprise the crown consisted of people of every colour, age and background; which just goes to show he was one of many influential artists who was able to bring everyone together with his music and the messages he portrayed.

One thing I’ve been reminded of from his death is to appreciate people while they are still here. One thing that surprised many about his death is that they didn’t expect it to come so soon (he was 62). So whether it’s a celebrity you admire, a family member, peer or close friend, let this be a reminder to you to appreciate those while they are still here. Don’t let it get too late and only realize the significance they had on your life until they’re gone.

For those who are familiar with Gil Scott Heron, you’ll understand what I mean when I say his legacy still lives on. For those who don’t, I suggest you use this an opportunity to listen to some of his songs, as there is a big chance that he had a huge influence on some of the artists you currently listen to. (e.g Kanye West, Common, Eminem)

Right now the circumstances under which he passed away are unknown, I will be sure to update this when I find out

May 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

Help Haiti!!

Those who have paid attention to the news recently would be familiar with the earthquake that has taken place in the Caribbean country of Haiti yesterday on January 12th with a magnitude of 7.0.

Although the number of people who have died is unknown, the country’s priminister has estimated the number to be in it’s hundred’s of thousands. Many buildings [especially government ones] have been destroyed; it is also said that a large part of Port-au-Prince has been demolished, Red Cross has estimated that 3 million people in the country have been affected by the earthquake.

Right now, Haiti needs all the help it can get which is why people should donate and help in any other way they can. Organisations such as the Red Cross and Unicef are taking donations in order to help the victims of this earthquake. I understand that for many money is an issue right no due to economic difficulties, but a large donation is not necessary. Even if it’s something like $5 it will be largely appreciated.

Though I have never been to Haiti and I’m not Haitian myself, it’s important that they receive help, especially considering that millions are currently being affected by it. Though it’s likely that help will be received by countries like the US, it does not mean that others shouldn’t help, which is why I’m urging you to make some kind of donation.

Here are various links etc where you can donate:

Unicef
http://www.unicefusa.org/

Anyone in the USA can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti

A Link To Wyclef Jean’s [a Hatian Native] Twitter page. it contains many other ways to donate

January 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

Being Biracial: Videos

Here are the videos I promised about being biracial from a different perspective.
These are from people who see it as negative and [like I mentioned in the post ] deny one side of themselves due to some of the reasons I listed.

Preconceived Notions About Race

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

This one is just shocking
http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshh1s789DJjzH2Z3qG5

January 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

It Never Ends

Wherever you go, wherever they’re from and whatever they look like, people are pretty much the same wherever you go, especially when it  comes to things like trust, honesty and heated conflicts.

Trust because there are only a few people you’ll ever meet that you can actually trust. 
Unfortunately, a lot of people put too much trust in people who aren’t as reliable as they may think, meaning they tend to find this out the hard way. On top of that, it’s not necessarily in the nicest way; it’s not unusual for many to get hurt in the process.

Honesty because people will always lie to you.
There are so many two faced people out there where lying is a second nature to them. What’s sad about it is that at times people can put more trust into the liars rather than those few who are telling the truth. By the time people may realise this it’s probably too late, as by then, the liars may have somehow twisted and manipulated you.

Conflict because it tends to be the outcome of the two things mentioned above
Conflicts commonly spur from a lack of trust or honestly in between people. Though mainly verbal, they can sometimes get physical or more damaging [mentally or physically] as people get older.

Such conflicts are usually associated with high school. However when it comes to the work place, things aren’t that different.
While
many would think that people would grow out of it once becoming an adult, many simply don’t. They remain as the cold, bitter bitchy people that they were in high school and college who still form cliques and single out individuals they don’t like for whatever reason. They continue to bully, abuse and harass those who simply don’t deserve it.

So how can this be avoided?  That’s the issue it can’t. Wherever you go there will always be someone who has an of issue with you or someone you many know. While you may not be able to always get away from them, you don’t have to put up with it.

January 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Being Biracial

Biracial is defined as someone who has parents from two races; for instance they may have a black mother and a white father, or an asian mother and a black father etc. [I’ll mainly be talking about those who are mixed with black and white, but there’ll also be mentions of other mixes]

People are used to being categorized as one race, and in a country like America, there has been rules to keep things that way; the most common being the One Drop Rule. It stated that if you were partially black (whether you’re 1/2, 1/4. 1/8 or even 1/16) you were still considered black. This meant that even if someone looked white but had a black great grandmother, they would be considered black and at the time, not be accepted by the white race [in America] It’s because of such rules that there have been constant debates on what to classify biracial people like Halle Berry, Lou Jing and Barack Obama.

As well as black people having various complexions, certain aspects can come out stronger from one parent, meaning biracial people vary in appearance. Believe it or not, the following people are all of the same mix (one black parent & one white parent):

Jael (ANTM contestant)    Emily King (Singer)

Charley Uchea                                     Slash (Musician)
(Big Brother UK Contestant)

Lenny Kravitz (Singer)              Rashida Jones (Quincy Jones’ daughter)

As you can see, some of them look mixed while others only look black (Charley Uchea) or only look white (Jael or Rashida Jones). Although I’m not biracial myself, I know many people who are. While many of them embrace both of the races, just as many prefer one half of themselves, leading them to be ashamed of the other half if not deny it completely.

This could be for many reasons [not only with those I know, but generally], one is discrimination they face from friends and even family. Many within the black community automatically dislike them for stupid reasons; they assume that those who are biracial think they are better than them because their skin is lighter etc. when most of the time, that is not true.

Many within the white and Asian community don’t approve of biracial people, especially if they’re half black, and they’re not afraid to admit it. That’s how derogatory terms such as “half breed” developed (just look at what happened to Lou Jing)

Another reason is their perceptions of the denied race is based on either a bad experience or stereotypes. Say a biracial girl (black and white) was only in contact with the white side of her family and the only exposure to black people she had was the negative perceptions of us as rapists, gangsters, drug dealers etc. through the media. Not only could she deny her black side, but she may try and do anything she can when she’s older to not associate herself with black people, even if that means talking in a certain way, listening to a certain type of music, or even straightening her hair and bleaching her skin to look more white.

She may even be forced to deny one side. On the Tyra Banks show singer Kimberley Locke spoke about how in High School her black friends tried to make her choose one side of her as they believed she couldn’t be both black and white. Although she refused to choose between the two, that’s unfortunately not the case for many other biracial people in the same position. Many are proud of only one when they really should be proud of both. Being biracial doesn’t make them “dirty” or “unpure”, if anything it makes them more diverse and unique.
If they’re surrounded by those who don’t accept them for who they are, then they’re not the people they should associate with, there are millions of people out there who will embrace their mixed heritage.

January 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Addressing The Misconceptions of Vegetarianism

The following are general misconceptions or stereotypes about vegetarians. These are the main ones I know about, meaning there are probably more that won’t be addressed.

1. We don’t get enough protein
This seems to be one of the most common misconceptions about vegetarians.
The list of foods is too long for me to put on here w/o going over my word limit, so [click here] for the list. Meat may be an easy source of protein, but it isn’t the only source. Just like oranges aren’t the only source of Vitamin C. There are probably those who aren’t getting enough protein, however that’s down to a bad diet, it has nothing to do with the fact they are vegetarian. If you look at the list of foods containing protein, you’ll see that vegetarians have more than enough ways to get the amount they need. Whether they choose to eat those foods or not in the right quantities is up to the individual.

2. We are pale, weak, super skinny and malnutritioned
People’s body have a certain build due to things like metabolism or genetics, it has nothing to do with whether they do or don’t eat meat. People cut out a certain item of food rather than a whole food group when not eating meat, meaning that those who become vegetarians have pretty much the same body type they had when they ate it [unless they purposely gain or lose weight]. I personally haven’t become any skinnier, my weight has remained the same. This also applies to those that I’ve seen/known to also be vegetarian.

Those who are pale, weak, super skinny etc. are like that due to not eating much/any food at all. It’s not down to cutting out a single item of food.

3. People are only vegetarian for ethical purposes (In other words, we do it as we think it’s “wrong to kill animals for food”)

You’ll find more people doing it for health, environmental and religious purposes rather than to “save the animals”. Nevertheless, ethical reasons are still an important factor for many vegetarians. Alot of people just don’t feel comfortable eating meat after realizing how it got there

4. All we eat is salad
Vegetarians [including myself] aren’t necessarily big salad fans, meaning we don’t each it much if not at all. We’re vegetarians not rabbits

5. We eat fish. If we don’t, we are no longer vegetarian, but vegan
Meat is defined as flesh that comes from an animal, making fish another subgroup of meat, those who call themselves vegetarian but still eat fish are not vegetarian.
By definition, they are Pescatarians, something that has no relation to vegetarianism. Vegans don’t eat meat [including fish] AND animal products [dairy, eggs, honey etc.] while most vegetarians still do. Calling vegetarians vegans because they don’t eat fish just shows how little people generally know about vegetarianism.

6. We are generally unhealthy
We actually have lower risks of getting heart disease, high levels of cholesterol, blocked arteries or even certain types of cancer by not eating red meat and have lower risks of getting mercury poisoning by not eating canned tuna [to name a few], so if anything we are healthier than those who do eat meat as our risks of getting the things listed above are significantly lower.
Here’s a question to those who think eating meat’s healthier:
Why are millions of doctors ordering so many of their patients to lay off things like red meat if “it’s good for you”?

Vegetarians are more health conscious. We simply don’t care about “how good it tastes” because in the long run, we know it won’t benefit us. We realize that we’re contributing to a longer healthier life rather than possibly shortening it by something like a “sudden” heart attack


January 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

The Lou Jing Situation

A few months ago, a lot of speculation was made about Lou Jing, a 20 year old Chinese student from Shanghai who entered a Chinese talent show called Let’s Go! Oriental Angel. What gave her the attention in China was not necessarily her talent, it was her skin colour; The attraction from it reportedly made her one of the most famous talent show contestants in China, and she didn’t even win the show.

Lou grew up in China her whole life, meaning she speaks fluent Shanghai and Mandarin chinese. On the show, it was revealed that her mother had an affair with an African American man, resulting in the conception of Lou. Many chinese blogs and forums blew up with insults towards Lou and [mainly] her mother as a result. Some gave Lou the name 小黑鬼 (xiaoheigui) meaning “little black devil” [click here for more comments made about her]

It exposed the narrow minds of many Chinese people and how bigotry is still very much alive in the country during the 21st century. However, as racist as the whole outcome has been, people [especially those criticizing the issue] must remember two main things

1. Lou Jing’s Father
On the internet, many Chinese people used this as an example to justify the stereotype that black men abandon women once they’re pregnant, leaving them to to single mothers. While there is some truth in that, men of other races do the same thing, however it’s highlighted more in black men. In the case of Lou Jing’s father, he left China with no idea that he’d gotten her mother pregnant, meaning he probably still doesn’t know of Lou’s existence

2. Such racism does not only occur in China
As distasteful and offensive as the comments were again Lou and her mother, there are just as many [if not more] people who have the exact same views as those Chinese commenters outside of China. When hearing her story a lot of people seem to forget that such racist views are apparent everywhere. There are people in almost every country who feel the same way about people who are black, mixed or any other race/ethnicity that isn’t the same as theirs. Perhaps what’s given China so much attention on it is the fact that they don’t have a long history discriminating against black or mixed people compared to places like Britain or the United States.

People must also remember that not all Chinese people were against Lou Jing’s racial mix.
She had support from alot of Chinese people aswell as her friends, professors and Chinese journalists. One author even wrote on their blog:

In the same year that Americans welcome Obama to the White House, we can’t even accept this girl with a different skin colour.

– Hung Huang –

China isn’t the first, and definitely won’t be the last country to express such racist views in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Lou, it was the first time she experienced any racial hatred in her life. With such a story, people should also remember that the same views are also felt by those in their countries of residence, not just in the country of question.

Lou Jing’s story [in more detail]:
http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/lou-jing/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Jing

An opinion from another perspective [this person is the same mix as Lou Jing]:
http://african-chineseguy.blogspot.com/2009/09/lou-jing-sad-story-of-black-chinese.html

January 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm 2 comments

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