Tag Archives: Biggie Smalls

Remembering The Notorious B.I.G. On The 20th Anniversary Of His Passing. #RIP Biggie Smalls

“Excellence is my presence. Never tense, never hesitant.” – Biggie Smalls.

1-These were the words left to us by mere mortal like the man whose government name was Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G. Gone too soon, but his impact will live forever. He was born May 21, 1972, in Bedford–Stuyvesant (colloquially known as Bed-Stuy) neighborhood in the north-central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn where some say is city’s roughest borough. There he grew up to become a drug dealer and a hustler, but his legacy was that of a master lyricist.

I have known many artists in my lifetime who have recorded and sold millions of records whereas Mr. Big recorded only three that solidified his place in music history for all-time. He started experimenting with music as a teenager and, not long after, befriended Puffy Combs and with the guidance of Tupac Shakur turned ashy into classy. His 1994 debut album, Ready to Die, was a smash hit and Life After Death became a classic.

Around his neighborhood, Biggie Smalls, as he called himself then, began building a reputation as a musician. After a tape of his landed in the hands of Mister Cee, a well-known DJ, Smalls was featured in the hip-hop publication, The Source.

Almost immediately, the Notorious B.I.G., as he now called himself, appearing on the 1993 remix of Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love,” and followed it up with a second Blige remix, “What’s the 411?” His debut as a solo artist came with the single, “Party and Bullshit,” on the soundtrack to the film, Who’s the Man?

In my view the release of his debut album, Ready to Die, which told the story of his life, from a drug dealer to rapper, was as prophetic as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” With hits like “Juicy” and “Big Poppa,” the record went platinum, and the young hip-hop artist became a full-fledged star. That same year, The Source named the rapper “Best New Artist,”Best Live Performer” and “Lyricist of the Year.”

As his star power increased, Biggie did his best to share his prestige. He backed the work of several rappers that he’d originally performed with while starting out in Brooklyn, and took to the studio in support of other artists on Sean “Puffy” Combs’s label. He also teamed up with such stars as Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. By the close of 1995, Biggie was one of music’s best-selling and most sought after performers.

Big’s success and wealth hardly brought peace to Biggie’s life where he was often quoted as saying “more money more problems.” In the immediate aftermath of Ready to Die’s popularity, the rapper found himself in constant fear. In 1994, he told The New York Times that he was disliked for having more money, which came with his fame.

It was after the murder of Tupac Shakur that amplified Biggie’s fears about his own life, and his concern was tragically validated on March 9, 1997. Biggie, who had just come out of the Soul Train Music Awards, was sitting in an SUV when another vehicle pulled up to his car, opened fire and killed him. His murder shook the music world, prompting fears that the hip-hop world might erupt into a full-fledged war, ending numerous other lives. Biggie was only 24 years old at the time.

In the wake of Big’s killing, the record Life After Death was a giant hit, selling nearly 700,000 copies in its first week. Two years later, Born Again, an album of unreleased material from Biggie, was released. The third album of extra material, Duets: The Final Chapter was released in 2005.

Today, Biggie is still one of the music industry’s most admired hip-hop artists. Several musicians have paid tribute to Biggie by mentioning him in their songs, and his musical style has been emulated by countless up-and-coming artists. There is little doubt that Biggie’s talent, as a writer and rapper, propelled him from a place where so many have been lost and will continue to be acknowledged for decades to come.

If Biggie were alive today, it is safe to say there would be many so-called rapper starving and unknown. Knowing it or not, maybe call it destiny, the Notorious B.I.G. proved there is “Life After Death” and it’s called eternity. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Comprehensive View Of Our History

Stubborn as a Mule 

This is a MUST SEE internationally award winning film that depicts and explores facts of history that are not whole known or taught in any educational system. It is an eye-open look at the concept that makes the case for why reparations should be open for discussion and the necessity for it to be addressed.

AWESOME DOCUMENTARY!


Gang Of Thugs

1We’ve been conditioned and lead to believe, or dare I say, accept that law enforcement is supposed to be for the benefit of the people, who pay their salaries “to protect and serve.”  However, this is not the case, particularly when it comes to black people. Some might argue, and I am one of them that believe this was never the intent in the first place – meaning protect black people. Rather, when it comes to the justice system what we find is “Just Us”!

Nonetheless, the police today are heavily militarized agencies that would make one think we are in a combat zone. People of African descent have always lived in a police state, and frankly the police has become little more than “slave catchers” to fill prisons with cheap labor, not unlike the chain gangs of old that was designed for slave labor.

I am sure you watch the news and read the reports of renegade cops, who brutalize black people for little more than “because they can get away with it.” Nearly every day in America a black man or woman is manhandled, beaten, or killed by the police – the people we pay who are suppose to protect us, with no conscience or consequence for their action. Except the word JUSTIFIED!

Here are a few examples, in today’s Chicago’s newspaper there was a story of four (4) officers and I use that loosely, who were responsible for four hundred (400) misconduct complaints and still on the job. In the City of Angels (LA), a highway patrol officer, again used loosely, beat a grandmother nearly to death – still working. There was a recent case in New York, Eric Garner, where the police choked a black man to death for nothing, meaning he committed no crime. No charges for any of the assaults or murders. This is not to mention the countless murders covered up by the gang in blue.

The black man, Eric Garner, who was choked to death immediately, joined a larger parade of fatal clashes between black men and police that seem to stretch back all the way through living memory. His name joins a string of others that together form a kind of shorthand for excessive force: Amadou Diallo. Patrick Dorismond. Timothy Stansbury. Sean Bell. Ramarley Graham

We must also include the people those cops who take money to protect drug dealer and shake them down. They steal the evidence [drugs] and give them to their street snitches. Let me be clear, these kinds of acts at the hands of the “law” were occurring way before Rodney King’s assault was captured on video tape by the brutes in blue, who are paid to terrorize the black community. In fact, before slavery, during slavery, and until today this is what they were hired to do in the same manner as the Klan operated.

It is reported and we know the FBI used covert activities, such as COINTELPRO, and the government assassinates its citizens under cover of law. In addition, a report was just released to the public that thousands of FBI cases were reviewed with faulty crime lab results. Another report was released some time ago that said, the FBI have never had an unlawful shooting in its history.

This has happened and continues to happen far too frequently and it’s time for accountability. I am not going to get into the fact that judges send black people to jail far more than others and for longer periods of time. Justice has run amuck! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


BLACK EMPOWERED MEN

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The subject of a black man doing anything positive is very polarizing and controversial, but it is a crucial piece of the African American Diaspora. This is unless he is viewed as a sellout, and we know who you are!!! I digress! I can speak to this issue because I am not unlike many African Americans who have been touched by the consequences or aftermath of living in America.

My father abandoned my teenage mother while I was in the womb. I did not meet him until I was ten and had only been in his presence for maybe two hours in my entire life. However, my grandfather was the man in my life, and he taught me how to be a man. His teachings resonate profoundly within my every waking moment, which I used to raise my son and teach my grandson to include sharing the same knowledge with others, as I navigate the troubled waters of life. The reality is, “you have to see a man – to be a man!”

We are a community in crisis. I do not cast blame because there is surely enough to go around. However, there are men who give of themselves to the benefit of others, raising their children, empowering the community, who carry themselves with dignity and respect – in other words “they represent.” So ladies, it may not be or does not have to be your man but there has to be a man present in the lives of these children. If this were being done with vigor, it would have a ripple effect. The home would be held together; the community would be greater, there would be a development in the minds of our youth, and maybe the carnage that is taking place would cease.

Images are and have been projected of black men most often falsely, glorifying our role in society as thugs, gangstas, criminals, buffoons, clowns, being worthless, and hopeless have permeated far too long. I know many of you know that is not the case by enlarge. However, when you open your newspaper or watch TV that’s how we are represented. I argue that this assassination of character should come to an end. If for no other reason than, the fact, the most powerful man in the world today looks like us, an African American. Adding to this, he leads a proud, dignified family that is positively on display for the whole world to bear witness to, which says all things are possible.

The absence of the strong, responsible black man holding it down, in the family and community, is destroying us as a people. Having said that, the purpose we live is to continue the species. I was taught a very significant lesson early in life, and reinforced every day of my life, by my Grandfather who said, “I raised you to be a man and as a man you don’t know what you might have to do but when the time comes you do it.” We don’t know what challenges are ahead of us. Therefore, my interpretation of that daily message was preparation plus opportunity equals SUCCESS and that the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he learns.

These platitudes are essential to the survival of our children and, frankly, our existence. There needs to be a man in the lives of these boys, and girls, because the father’s role is to be an example, a role model, to guide, direct, and pass on the wisdom he’s gained. For example, how can you expect your little girl to chose a man if she has no model to base a relationship on?

In addition, ladies, please stop thinking that can make your boy a man – you can’t. You can raise, teach and nurture him – but you cannot make him a man because you are not one. Now, to the ladies that are holding it down, I applaud you, I know what that enormous job is like – my mother did it, and I was no walk in the park. If it had not been for Granddaddy, I would be lost – dead or in jail.

There is a Facebook group BLACK EMPOWERED MEN where you are personally invited to join and share your thoughts, and wisdom. ALL ARE WELCOME! The purpose of this group is to be a vehicle to communicate with those who agree and can offer feedback, suggestions, ideas, and information to the benefit of our families and by extension our communities. If not for you, do it for the children. Stand Up Black Men –Reach one Teach one! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Praise For All Queens

th (4)To all the women and mothers on the day we are celebrating women I want to show reverence to all of the beautiful women – all Queens. History tells us, and His-story agrees, that the oldest known human remains discovered is that of a black woman, whose name was “Lucy”, found in African over 4 million years ago. It is also a fact that Africa is the cradle of civilization, which means a black woman gave birth to mankind in a place called Pangaea.

These gorgeous creatures walk with the distinction of creating and continuing the species that first walked the earth and still they carry the world on her shoulders as being God’s greatest creation. Therefore, during this month that is dedicated to the “Celebration of Women” – I LOVE YOU. This post is not meant to exclude women, who are also of distinction, from other ethnicity’s or hues because I love you too. Rather to express my profound appreciation for the wonders and wonderful Black Woman.

Some may say that today’s black woman, particularly young women, have lost their way. This is a subjective statement, which may be true to a degree but each of you ladies have the power to change that perception by guiding these young girls into womanhood. You are the nurturer because you are the woman who understands her strength and uses her power positively as a gift to mankind.  Forget the mantra, so often used, “Strong Black Woman”. We know you are but consider that it is misguided because your strength is in unity, and I will leave that there as my prospective.

We can all remember; I hope, Big Mama, who was the backbone of the family,. She is the woman that I dedicate this article, and pay homage to those like her, for being the family’s greatest gift; a proud woman with wisdom, pride, and dedication with one purpose “family”. For all of those who use the mantra “Strong Black Woman” in a misguided way. Let me suggest that you use the First Lady, Michelle Obama our crowned queen, as an example for which to follow. As she portrays for the world to see what a black woman is – proud, graceful, supporting, dignified and charming. This is your strength.

Personally, my greatest heroine was Harriet Tubman because of her bravery and courage. It has been about 100 years since her death, and I continue to be haunted by a powerful statement she made shortly before that fateful day. She was asked by a reporter if she knew how many slave she saved while conducting the Underground Railroad? She said, “I could have freed a lot more if they had only known they were slaves?” POWERFUL!!! I respect and honor her because she risked her life for the benefit of others traveling back to rescue many captive souls, 13 or more times, after she had escaped herself during a time that we cannot imagine today.

There was a commercial a long time ago that said, “You’ve come a long way baby” or look at this way “from the outhouse to the White House”. These are just a few exceptional women that I am particularly proud of because of their integrity, pride, dignity, and fortitude, but there are so many more. So for those who came before you or those who walk amongst us; like Phyllis Wheatley, May Jemison, Mya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Madam CJ Walker, Sojourner Truth, the Queen of Sheba, Nefertiti, Big Mama, my Mom, you, and not to be left out the millions of heroines that the world have been blessed to share – you are loved. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Happy Birthday Dorothy Irene Height

Dorothy Irene Height, (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010), the Matriarch of the civil rights movement passed away early Tuesday of natural causes in a Washington hospital. Dr. Height established a national reputation as a graceful insistent voice for civil rights and women’s rights. She was regarded as the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement” and a tireless crusader for racial justice and gender equality spanned more than six decades.

Dr. Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. She moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh early in her life where she attended racially integrated schools. She was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon her arrival she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students. She pursued studies instead at New York University earning a degree in 1932 and a master’s degree in educational psychology the following year.

Dr. Height served on the advisory council of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Advisory Council on Aging. Her awards included 36 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities, including Harvard and Princeton. In addition, Dr. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and on her 92nd birthday, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest decoration Congress can bestow.

Dr. Height was among a coalition of African American leaders who pushed civil rights to the forefront of the American political stage after World War II. She was instrumental, and a key figure, in the struggles for school desegregation, voting rights, employment opportunities and public accommodations in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Dr Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, relinquishing the title at the age of 95.

National Council of Negro Women is a four million member advocacy group consisting of 34 national and 250 community based organizations. It was founded in 1935 by educator Mary McLeod Bethune, who was one of Height’s mentors. Dr. Height was a civil rights activist who participated in protests in Harlem during the 1930’s. In the 1940’s, she lobbied first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of civil rights causes and in the 1950’s she prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to move more aggressively on school desegregation issues.

President Obama issued an official statement White House that reads as follows: Dr. Height was “a hero to so many Americans… Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality . . . witnessing every march and milestone along the way… And even in the final weeks of her life — a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more open and inclusive place for people of every race, gender, background and faith.”

As a young woman, Dr. Height made money through jobs such as ironing entertainer Eddie Cantor’s shirts and proofreading Marcus Garvey’s newspaper, the Negro World. She went nightclubbing in Harlem with composer W.C. Handy. Dr Height began her professional career as a caseworker for the New York City welfare department. She got her start as a civil rights activist through the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and from the pastor’s son, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who later represented Harlem in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the 1940’s, Dr. Height came to Washington as chief of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA branch. She joined the staff of the national YWCA board in 1944 through 1975. She remained on that staff with a variety of responsibilities, including leadership training and interracial and ecumenical education. In 1965, she organized and became the director of the YWCA’s Center for Racial Justice, and she held that position until retiring from the YWCA board in 1975.

Dr. Height became national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 1947holding that position until 1957 when she became the fourth president of the National Council of Negro Women. She was a visiting professor at the Delhi School of Social Work in India, and she directed studies around the world on issues involving human rights.

During the turmoil of the civil rights struggles in the 1960’s, Dr. Height helped orchestrate strategies with major civil rights leaders including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, Bayard Rustin and John Lewis, who later served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia. Congressman John Lewis said when Dr. Height announced her retirement as president of the National Council of Negro Women – “At every major effort for social progressive change, Dorothy Height has been there.” She was also energetic in her efforts to overcome gender bias, and much of that work predated the women’s rights movement.

Dr. Height was the most influential woman at the top levels of civil rights leadership, but she never drew the major media attention that conferred celebrity and instant recognition on some of the other civil rights leaders of her time. In August 1963, Dr. Height was on the platform with King when he delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Less than a month later, at King’s request, she went to Birmingham, Ala. to minister to the families of four black girls who had died in a church bombing linked to the racial strife that had engulfed the city.

In 1995, Dr. Height was among the few women to speak at the Million Man March on the Mall, which was led by Louis Farrakhan, the chief minister of the Nation of Islam. “I am here because you are here,” she declared. Two years later, at 85, she sat at the podium all day in the whipping wind and chill rain at the Million Woman March in Philadelphia.

She would often remark, “Stop worrying about whose name gets in the paper and start doing something about rats, and day care and low wages. . . . We must try to take our task more seriously and ourselves more lightly.” She also famously said, “If the times aren’t ripe, you have to ripen the times”. It was important to dress well she said, “I came up at a time when young women wore hats, and they wore gloves. Too many people in my generation fought for the right for us to be dressed up and not put down.”

“She was a dynamic woman with a resilient spirit, who was a role model for women and men of all faiths, races and perspectives. For her, it wasn’t about the many years of her life, but what she did with them,” said former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. Dr. Height is a national treasure who lived life abundantly and for the abundance of others. She will be greatly missed, not only by those of us who knew her well, but by the countless beneficiaries of her enduring legacy.

In my novel “Just a Season”, I talked about a “Dash” that will be place on our final marker between the years of one’s birth and death that will represent the whole of a person’s life. I said that to say, this tiny little dash on Dr. Height’s marker will not adequately give enough credit for her outstanding life’s work. It should have an inscription that says – “Servant of God, Well Done.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

“Just a Season”
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
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Listen to the author’s interview!

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