So Much for a Tranquil Summer

July 30, 2015

“You either build or you destroy, so what you waitin’ on?”  Jay Electronica from the Victory Mixtape

It is way too late to say this sort of thing is getting out of hand.  We are headed into a new phase now.  I’m labeling it as a purposeful revealing of intentions, of sorts.  The United States of America is finally willing to let the world see her for what she really is: an overtly racist nation. Thanks to the real racist powers that be in America that have managed to display an even more graphic disregard for non-white life we are seeing yet another eventful summer of institutional racist oppression involving an array of international media.

It is getting hard to keep up, but here are some of the recent headlines in the good old United (police) States of America.  (I have been meaning to tell you how it looks from way over here in a distant land but I already know that it looks the same wherever you are.)

  • On the night of June 17th a twenty-one-year-old apartheid sympathizer shot and killed state senator Clementa Pickney, Cythia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson while attending a bible study with them at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  [Individual]
  • Two days later on June 19th Samuel Dubose was executed by a University of Cincinnati police officer after being unnecessarily detained for not displaying his front license plate in Ohio. [Group: police]
  • Sandra Bland, a member of the Movement for Black Lives, was pulled-over for her failure to signal a lane change on July 10th by a Texas state trooper in Waller County that quickly escalated into her arrest and she was found dead in her jail cell on July 13th.  [System: justice]
  • On July 14th Rexdale Henry, a Choctaw Native American activist, was also found dead in a jail cell under mysterious circumstances after being arrested for an unpaid fine and held over the weekend from July 9th in Neshoba County, Mississippi.  [System: justice]

With stuff like this happening all the time it is hard to tell if it is making writing careers or breaking them.  This writing business is beyond excruciatingly painful.  I was recently engaged in an intellectual, social media conversation about an article by Jonathan McWhorter that compared the strong antiracist sentiments of the Movement for Black Lives to a religion.  McWhorter basically extols that the good white people that are likely to be drawn into the very specific cause of Black Lives Matter in the United States of America will be ultimately shackled by guilt and result in some failed policy.  I argued amongst some of my white friends that McWhorter unwisely called out Ta-Nehisi Coates as a pied piper of sorts for white liberalism along with other points in the article that I found problematic.

The notion that people standing against racism are somehow infectiously following the most recent beautiful music of morality is serene but if that were the case Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King could have succeeded long ago.   Individuals, groups, and systems claim the lives of minorities in the United States with increasing clarity and at an alarming rate therefore the struggle against that phenomenon has refined itself.  The correct diagnosis of the sickness in America and the preponderance of evidence has led two separate white minorities to the realization that they might not have started the fire or put the kettle on the stove, but they would either like to completely avert or accelerate the seemingly inevitable boiling over.  Black lives indeed matter and the urgency implies that time is running out on anybody still mulling it over.  Most smart people can see this choice has to be made now, for deliberation is also making a clear statement.

The Movement for Black Lives that has propelled organizations like We Charge Genocide and writers like Coates appears to have just a little more self-determination rather than just relying solely on some white people, however.  This movement wasn’t quelled by the removal of some flag or defined by the people that have already lost their lives during the long and winding course but there have always been drum majors serving as prominent beacons keeping up with the times.  (I thank God every day for those willing to get out there and do the heavy lifting because I have a strong feeling that I know where all this is going.)  Black Lives Matter can exist totally beyond white validation and beyond the grasp of those attempting to stop it while still somehow, reaching those groups whether eloquently or crudely.  The real shining stars are the throngs of real patriots marching in step for the most basic of human rights in America: the right to live.  Ta-Nehisi Coates is deserving of his accolades, too –even if he is moving to France with his family in the pursuit of happiness.  Coates has a new book out dedicated to his son and he was compared to another expatriate, James Baldwin, who issued wise words about oppression to his nephew by literary great Toni Morrison, but you already know I’m going to let them tell it.

Ryan’s Top Five Basketball Players in the WCAC going into the 2015-16 season

July 30, 2015

DICooper:

Keep current with the best basketball players in the WCAC heading into next year with exciting video thanks to Ryan McFadden and Inside The Locker Room.

Originally posted on Inside The Locker Room-Student Run Sports Blog :

Even though 2015- 2016 WCAC basketball season is a few months away, it’s never too early to break down my top five players in the conference. The WCAC is filled with talented and Division I caliber players so,  it took me a lot of thinking to decide who made the cut and where should they be placed.  The players on this list is a group of some of the best players in the country. Two players already committed, and the other three are undecided. Schools that are looking at these players are Kentucky, Duke, Maryland, NC State, Arizona, and etc. So without further ado, here is my list of the top five players in the WCAC.

Kelle Photo Courtesy: http://www.scout.com

1. Markelle Fultz, DeMatha

Markelle is continuing to take the nation by storm. He is rank number 21 in the ESPN Top-100.  Fultz is the number one shooting guard in the state…

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Top Five College Basketball Players that came from the WCAC

July 30, 2015

DICooper:

Keep current with WCAC alumni currently expected to do big things in the upcoming NCAA Division 1 basketball scene thanks to Inside The Locker Room and Ryan McFadden.

Originally posted on Inside The Locker Room-Student Run Sports Blog :

The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is the home to some of the area’s well-known schools like DeMatha, Gonzaga, St. John’s, and Good Counsel. This conference also has produced a numerous amount of Division I and professional athletes especially in basketball. Below is my list of some of the top college basketball players today that came from the WCAC.

1. Melo Trimble (Bishop O’Connell)- University of Maryland 

Melo-Trimble Courtesy: http://terrapinstationmd.com/

Terps point guard Melo Trimble has been at the top of this game since playing basketball at Bishop O’Connell.  He was the number player in the state of Maryland, the seventh best shooting guard and the 29th best player in the country. In his senior year of high school, Trimble averaged 23.1 ppg and scored a career high of 47 points in a game against Gonzaga.

Melo took his talents to Maryland and was an immediate impact to the team. He led the…

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Lysa Controls the Entire Set: Ibiza Edition

July 6, 2015
Lysa Cooper on social media.

Lysa Cooper is on Instagram coordinating social media from Ibiza, Spain.

So my sister is super controlling and sometimes takes over and there is just no stopping her so you just hang on and go with the flow or you get your ass.  Cheyann Benedict came through wearing all the fresh caftans.  Camellia Clouse, brought her husband and two children so Samuel could have someone to frolic with.  Heather Harmon gave us guided tours of the Takashi Murakami exhibit that she works with on Ibiza.  Emilia Menocal made a special appearance. Drena DeNiro took some time away from her father’s yacht to have lunch with us.  Karen Binns had a mini surprise reunion at that joint.

Alright.  That’s enough claimbombing.  Here is some art to make up for my sins.  Sorry for that.  I get hype.

Takeshi Murakami exhibit in Ibiza Spain 2015.

Takeshi Murakami exhibit in Ibiza Spain 2015.

Way too early Super 25 teams to watch: DeMatha Catholic

June 6, 2015

DICooper:

Just so you know, the Stags are going to be playing football at the end of this summer.

Originally posted on USA Today High School Sports:

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. DeMatha Football photo. Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. DeMatha Football photo.

While the preseason Super 25 football rankings won’t come out until late July, this is one of a series on teams that could contend in the Super 25 high school football rankings next season. We previously looked at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), South Panola (Batesville, Miss.)Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.), Miami (Fla.) Central and Chandler, Ariz.

Team: DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md.

2014 finish: The Stags went 9-3 and won the Washington Catholic Athletic League.

Tradition: DeMatha has won two consecutive WCAC titles and has won 22 straight overall, including six in a row from 2003 to 2008.

Spring football: No spring football. Some of the team’s players will be in a 7-on-7 league in June. Summer practice begins Aug. 1.

2015 schedule: Hosts defending 6A Florida champion Miami Central on Aug. 29, then travels…

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El Ciclón de Jerez, El Pirata: Juan Jose Padilla Bullfighting Short

May 15, 2015

Juan Jose Padilla is the best bullfighter in the world, right now. He is blind in one eye and is known as El Ciclón or El Pirata de Jerez.  Friday afternoon he won three ears for his efforts while his contemporaries earned no honors. La Feria en Jerez wouldn’t be complete without his amazing performance.

Perhaps he is the best bullfighter in the world, today.

El Pirata fights the bull from his knees and puts on a spectacular show in his home town, Jerez de la Frontera.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

May 15, 2015

DICooper:

We have talked about this many times on The Chronicles of Six but this brother here went way beyond the call to illuminate Michellle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one talking about it. I will get with you at a later date.

Originally posted on World Is Africa:

By Michelle Alexander (TomDispatch)

Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race”. There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalised, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs and wars. You, too, can get to the promised land.

Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand. Racial caste is alive and well in America.

Most people don’t like it when I say this. It makes them angry. In the “era of colourblindness” there’s a nearly fanatical desire to cling to the…

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La Feria Lighting to Tio Pepe: Gitanas Edition

May 13, 2015

La Feria in Jerez is definitely worth a long form article.  But I think that I am going to have to try that article at a later date.  You see, right now, La Feria is in full swing.  I can’t miss too many of these moments because you never know when you are going to be able to live them.  The video above doesn’t due the production value of La Feria proper justice because there are so many things that go into this event besides the massive construction tour de force that took place to squeeze an entire city into a park.

Let’s start with the lighting ceremony, or rather two weeks before.  Some gitanas or gypsies basically took over the tree stump hangout behind the parking lot where I live.  I am not going to make some grand claim of understanding gypsy culture but these guys were basically drinking all day and playing backgammon.  They weren’t even loud with it.  Then on Sunday when La Feria kicked-off, they started working and shit got real.  You see normal Spaniards aren’t really for all that working crap during La Feria so it was a little suspicious when the folks known for never working started to work in overdrive.

(Only New Yorkers will appreciate these analogies: La Feria is like Saint Rocco’s Feast or San Gennaro’s Feast multiplied by Las Vegas.)  Incredibly gorgeous gypsy women came out of nowhere selling flowers or balloons.  Gypsy men were busying themselves with charging people to park in illegal parking spaces around La Feria.  Then the old gypsy ladies roved La Feria grounds like gangs pushing flowers and romero on anybody inexperienced enough to make eye contact with them.  The transformation was total, complete, and mind-altering.

I had to seek refuge in a caseta operated by the Jerez de la Frontera City Hall, and guess who was on the stage?  Gitanas with jobs, again.  Gypsies get their music on, and if you have ever heard sevillanas then you will understand what I am talking about.  Never mind how the City Hall partnered with one of the most well-known sherry makers in Spain.  That isn’t important right now.  After all, we are in Spain and we have to live somehow.  La Feria only comes once a year so forget your woes, get on a horse, and just watch this video.

Pregaming La Feria in Jerez de la Frontera

May 10, 2015

This was certainly something.  Samuel and I keep it real and show you how it is about to really go down at the biggest event of the year in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  Again, the thing to remember is that La Feria hasn’t officially started yet but stuff like this has been going on for at least a week…

On Ben Affleck and Slavery

April 22, 2015

DICooper:

For some reason I just feel that this sums up the recent hubbub with Ben Affleck and the legacy of slavery very well.

Originally posted on John Matthew Barlow:

A few years back, I was contacted by the producers of Who Do You Think You Are?, a popular TV genealogy show, to help them with an episode.  The show was predicated on tracing the ancestry of celebrities, attempting to capitalize on the boon in genealogy amongst the masses, and was based on a popular British version.  For an upcoming episode, they were working with Rosie O’Donnell, whose Irish ancestors had passed through Montreal, living for a time in a long-defunct neighbourhood in the city’s east end.

So I met with people from the show when they came to Montreal, spent the good chunk of a day with them, showing them what mid-nineteenth century architecture in the city looked like, using Pointe-Saint-Charles in the stead of this defunct neighbourhood, which was destroyed by the expansion of rue Notre-Dame in the 70s.  Not surprisingly, the majority of the Montreal part was excised…

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