Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today Is My Sister's Birthday

That's my sister Heather from last year's birthday bash. There is no bash this year seeing that she's either on her way or already in Dallas, I'm in Houston (gotta be close enough to look out for that ass, or is it the other way around?) and Little Brother is in Chicago. Whatever, we still call each other and acknowledge how much sand is filling our hourglasses, even if I don't celebrate mine.


I'll spend most of my time today aside from bugging her working on the new project. She's 28. I'm getting old because at one time I was resident babysitter and diaper changer, keeping me away from many a school dance...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Whatever That Purpose May Be...

"I love the connections I've made through blogging, but at the same time I want to be respectful of this collective's purpose, whatever that may be. "

Zesty - In response to my post: "The Idea Is Still Maturing... Slowly"



I tell you what the purpose behind BrownBloggers is:

As a brown skinned man in America I gravitate to a lot of things. Because of my African heritage, I'm attracted to the kick of the drum and all that it has to offer. I love hip hop, even in it's current state. I love black literature and I consume it because it and things like African American art are pretty much ignored anyway and I feel like I get to have certain things to myself based on that. But as an artist, I feel for those that put great literary pieces of work together can can't get credit, accolades and compensation because either their work is 'too black' or is largely ignored. That hurts me.

As a multi-cultural kid of Latin heritage. I also recognize and respect the richness of my dual cultures. I also respect the fact that my ancestors came to this place from many places via Mother Africa. I may not believe in or have the faith based system that my African American mother or Puerto Rican father has but I have been raised to have an open mind, the willingness to learn and respect for what was taught to me. I attended Catholic school and was baptized as such at an early age. I also converted to Protestantism as a teenager and then Islam as an adult while serving in the military. After all that I have seen, I never felt the need to trash another person's culture or belief system because it is different or unfamiliar. Instead I choose to embrace all of it as my own. It made me... Me.

I've dated out of my race and out of my country. No, I never dated a white girl, but I have dated women of Japanese, Korean, Chilean and Indian heritage. I also courted a Nigerian woman and tried to marry a sister from that island just off the coast of Florida.

What I'm saying is, I got a chance to travel and live abroad and meet people, and I'm nowhere finished from doing and experiencing that. As much as I travel and experience stuff, no one group of people has is as bad as my family here in the states. It seems that society has everything for everyone, but access to my people's thang is damn near impossible. Yes, there are some that have the loot to market and advertise and some of us that have done good in and out of the hood, but it is not enough. So when I'm seeing folks on the internet coming together from all over the place in the attempt to share something good and having commonality, that gets me excited.

So I wanna do my part to organize and continue in that tradition.

There is no intention of excluding anyone from BrownBloggers. Just like BlackPlanet, Black Voices, Black America Web and other sites of the ilk, whomever wants to participate regardless of background or color can and will and I hope the same for BrownBloggers. There is a focus, to bring together brown-skinned bloggers of many backgrounds and use that commonality, the love of art, history, family, the spirit, education, health and such to enhance the online experience of the user whatever their culture may be. There ain't no crime in that, well at least I hope not.

I also recognize that in cyberspace there is a digital divide. The balance between the sensational and sensible needs to be rescaled. Emphasis on the superficial when it comes to brown-skinned people America seems to outweigh that of what some consider sensible, and I want to do what I can to get my weight up on the other side of the scale. There is unevenness, so if I can create anything to bring folk together to have uplifting conversation geared towards building my community I will do so. This is what BrownBloggers is to be. A place for folks that look like me to come and congregate and fellowship with each other to reach a common goal, enhancing each other's cyber experience thru infoshare... And I plan on monthly blogger meet and greets so we can put faces to the words typed and get to the bottom of the myriad of problems that seem to keep us apart and hold us back, whatever that may be.

Fortunately, I am 3 brown skinned cultures deep in heritage. I am American of African heritage, I am an islander from the Caribbean and I am also from a small country in South America. There are many more of my kinfolk with brown or brownish type skin that need a forum, a meeting place, an ujima.

I feel it's time for me to get off my ass and do something about it. I'll take the ridicule and the questioning, but I'll also sleep better at night knowing that I can finally go someplace on the world wide web where folks who look like me and can fellowship without the bullshit.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Idea Is Still Maturing... Slowly

http://www.brownbloggers.org/ is up... It needs legs to run and I am only one person performing surgery.

Scalpel?



Anyone?



Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?


It's early Monday morning and I still haven't decided on a decent and proper header page. I did a little work on the forums (well, I built the damn thing) and I realize that I need help doing this. So far, I have one other person helping out and another that registered.

Amen.

I need artwork, ideas other than mine and folks willing to moderate (it's not even a part time thing doing that, I just need you to look check in every now and then) a forum or two, Suggestions are necessary.

What I'm attempting to do here is establish a portal, blogger directory and forum that a bunch of brown skinned bloggers can come to, get the news, pass on some knowledge and discover a few new folks out there doing the damn thing. This is a non-profit venture. I wanna also get both a virtual meet and greet going as well as physical meetings with participants and registered users of the site.

Can you help? Wanna contribute? Can you help a brother build this thing? Holla back.

hassan@brownbloggers.org

Let me know what you can do to contribute. Let me know what you wanna see and experience. Criticize the hell out of what's being built. Drop a few ideas my way. Right now, the door to building and organizing from the ground up is wide open.

Until then, feel free to hit the forums, register and add to the template. That might be fun. If you wanna administer/moderate, send me a PM. I just might letcha' do that. Let's do something.

I double dog dare you.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Idea Matures...

As I start this, it's damn near 3am. I'm sipping on a glass of Crown and 'I Like It Like That' is playing in the background on TV. I have about 10 additional windows open with about 8 tabs cracked open, reading replies to past entries I put out there some time ago.

It's time for some action, and I'm thinking of a master plan.

But ain't nuthin but sweat inside my hand...



sorry, I had that in my head

It's now a litle past 10 in the morning as I erase what was this post. I'll be brief. I said that before, but... I think there needs to be a place to go first. Where ideas are shared and conversations can be had. A directory and one stop shopping for forums and politics. A spot where contributions can be made by many. Some sort of portal. A place where the real 'Cross Country Ya-Dig Tour' can begin. First in cyberspace, next up... Town hall meetings.

So I give you:

www.brownbloggers.org

I need a little help with this... Who's game? If so, get at me: hassan@brownbloggers.org and we can discuss how you can be down.

More seroius than that Steady B record...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bullet Statements

" I tried to find people like me – professionals, spouses, folks who are into the support of their race and the upliftment of it. Some were listed in the directory, but I couldn’t find them. When I teleported to their location, a few other people were there, looking around, appearing disoriented like me, asking questions like, “What can I do here?” "

A portion of Frank's response to my 3/20/2007 post: 'Do You Understand The Words Coming Out Of My Mouth?'




I won't get long winded... I hope you guys read Frank's entire entry from yesterday. It was everything I wanted to say. What exactly is a blog order you ask? How do we bring this thing together? Well:

  • Respect the OGs in cyberspace - There are a handful of folks that have been here for a while dropping knowledge and kicking science. Those folks should be recognized as such. One should also take plenty of notes because them old schoolers reserve the right to stop blogging at any time.

  • Come together, right now - We already think alike in some manner. This is why we keep meeting here in cyberspace. I know you realize that we communicate with each other more than we do with some siblings, parents, friends and such. How come we spend so much time together without one of us covering for drinks?

  • Organize, somehow - I say somehow because some of us want to remain anonymous, and that's fine, but realize that if you spend this much time with someone the bond is already there. Back in the day, our parents and grandparents met in the shadows and darkness working to get us free. Technology has brought us together to do what... Get membership cards? Have town hall type meetings? Have cyber-meetings via online chat? Hmmm.

  • Realize our power, there are strength in numbers - Next year is an election year. Not all of us have the same views but have the same interests: Solidifying family/self/community. Imagine if we came together and 501 (3) (c)'d ourselves into a Political Action Committee or special interest group. How much of a fire can we light under certain folks asses, being that we live everywhere and have organized like a cyber Voltron?

  • Let's meet and greet! - It has to start somewhere. I'm not saying that we rent a space and get articles of incorporation. I'm not asking that we rally around a candidate and spam folks to hell in a rabid email campaign. What I am saying is like some of the east coast and southern members of the family that we find a place to come together and just kick it.

  • Structure is necessary - There needs to be some sort of protocol or precedent set as far as us dealing with each other here in cyberspace. I'm not calling for a bunch or rules to be set in stone, we know that the joy of the internet is that it is unregulated and we can come and go as we please. I recognize that blogging does make us equal in some sorts, but recognize the fact that a sister like Rose has achieved business success, charitable status, held it down and probably pioneered modern day marriage and has been thru the jungle of raising a daughter. She deserves respect and is just one person out of thousands that choose to blog doing her thing. She volunteers this info and doesn't have to be anything to anyone but her family, business associates and friends, but she fellowships with us. This is why an order should be brought forth. Respect.

There is an order in all things. There is structure in everything. I'm not asking for a bunch of strangers to come together, create alter egos, fight crime and establish a hall of justice. I am asking a few thousand folks to take baby steps in communicating more effectively. Emails, phone calls and sitting around a few tables in the upcoming months can actually help put faces, respect and credibility to folks that are, get this: A part of our lives. Maybe if we can organize in some aspect we'll be able to learn, grow and be more successful in this thing called life.

Maybe

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Do You Understand The Words Coming Out Of My Mouth?

I've noticed that my kinfolk are getting caught up in the age thing now more than ever. Even if one's issue has to do with something totally off the charts, it seems that age and position in life has a lot to do with it. Reason I bring that up is because it seems that for the most part we're all blogging, most of us are hitting the reply button as well but after all that reading and typing there still seems to be a bit of distance between us and no lesson learned at the end of the day.

I understand that we all wanna use this forum to vent our frustrations, share the new news and explain to the listening universe why we have the need to make it do what it do and not pay a therapist in doing so. In the years that this blogging thing has been moving for some, why haven't we moved a bit in making right what we vent about?

We need a blog order.

A couple of years ago there was a blogger that I had plenty of interest in. The sister used a portion of Nikki Giovanni's quote in the title of her blog. The entire quote is this:



"If you don't understand yourself you don't understand anybody else."



Can you smell me this morning? Do you underdig? Is you hyperblelating with me in your bowl of cheerios and/or bacon sammitch with cheese? I hope so. There is an order in all things. There is a reason we blurb our business to the world and there is a reason we scrape the underbelly of the galaxy to find folks much like ourselves and a reason we subscribe to the rss feed.

We want to understand ourselves.

I admit that it took a moment for me to get my ass in order with the universe. I am not perfect and I still don't have a smidgen of my shit together but I can testify to one thing: I am aware of my situation and all of my actions are geared towards making right what I can with the time I got. Stick with me as I lay this down, please.

There are certain bloggers on my blogroll that break down to me what it will be like to have grand master status. There are others that are my peers and we move in the same direction, we just do different ish. There are a handful that are much younger, but I admire how they do what they do because in some phrases and statements I can already see the greatness in who they are. There are a few sisters that need explanation where there are others that have all the answers but cannot see it as it laid right in front of them. There are daddies and husbands that lay the laws down even if they don't know they're writing new legislature. There is a family that blogs that totally gets it and it is amazing that more folk don't stop by and see what a strong, black family can be. There are rebels and revolutionaries, sisters doing it for themselves...

I respect the order of things by reading and understanding but I also notice that some of us stop by and see a lesson plan in action thru words and never apply the knowledge given. Based on their own blogposts as time goes by for some, there seems to be no lesson learned. We can no longer ignore life's lessons thru this medium. We all blog for a reason, we can no longer as a community and blogfam continue to ignore each other while typing at the same time. How much longer can we all be in the same room speaking with no one taking notes? How much longer can we not tell our co-workers, spouses, family and friends about some the phenomenal lessons we see on our screens in cubicle city? We read each other every day, some of this must stick and be applied for our own sake.

In saying this, I suggest that we have a blog order. Like a few bloggers have done, we must categorize and show respect for those that have old school status, acknowledge peers and lead the young ones out of the forest. We need to come together and have blogger think tanks, gatherings (like a few of my east coast homies) and blog mentors. This is not entertainment and it should be respected as such. What we have is a community, and I do know that we are all not geographically close, we still need to come together and learn from each other. Otherwise all that typing we do will go for nothing.

Y'all my cousins anyway. Can we get some virtual love and then gather together any way we can so we can understand each other? Then maybe we can understand ourselves.

You know what I'm asking. I'm also questioning if this can be done. If it can't, then we're all blogging for nothing. Please tell me that ain't true.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Conversation

Get that ass over to Sister Toldja's spot and read her words, nuff said.



http://thebeautifulstruggler.blogspot.com/






You still here?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Texas Tornado Thursday

Thank the lord for Mega Doppler.

We can now see the flash floods at street level, helps me navigate the streets. Talk about after the rain, it got all 80-ish and thangs out today so I had to get out... And have chicken.

I think the chicken has me sleepy... It's been a while.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lone Star Slumber

I can't sleep.

Not that I have trouble slipping into a slumber, I cannot sleep due to my body.

It hurts to lay in a bed.

My muscles ache, my back is tight and I have pain shooting thru my shoulders, preventing me from laying on my sides, back and belly. This sucks. But I can damn sure get to sleep sitting on a barstool.

Funky, huh?

When I fly, I can sleep in that seat. When I ride on a coach, I can pass the eff out with the quickness. When at the rest, I can rest only in a sitting position. I have a big ass bed and I am no longer used to laying in one. It seems that I need to be in perpetual travel mode in order to get some decent sleep. Now that doesn't mean I'm not getting proper rest, quite the contrary...

I just can't sleep in a bed.

I guess I'm accustomed to being in motion when trying to get some shut eye. That's a damn shame, ain't it. Oh, and I'm debating between New Orleans and Las Vegas on the next stop on the 'Hassan cross country ya dig tour'... Whatchu think?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Texas Toast Tuesday

So I woke up this morning and I was still in Texas.

Damn. I actually moved here. What the hell just happened? This time last week I was in Chicago freezing my ass off, contemplating my next move. Boy that happened quickly.

I still have the desire to be other places. I know in my heart that Texas is where I need to be now. You know, plant a seed or two and see if any other place'll take me. I still desire to be in Georgia, but there is a lot going on right here... In my mind. That whole editing phase looks like it'll take place right here in the lone star state. For a second I was tired of writing and searching for the right copy edit service, and then I pulled all of my stuff out to give it a once over.

Damn. I like writing.

Funny, I haven't been inspired to write new stuff as of late (meaning December thru February) and the new stuff that's been on my mind has a new slant, a new twist to it. I'm not ready to expose any of that stuff right now but I do have a piece I can share:


I now see you from the corners of my eyes
You exist in the shadows, lurking out of sight
I know you're there
You affect my thought on many occasions
your influence invokes change from within
I want to hate you for that but I cannot
Instead I amplify my abstract thought
embellish emotional senses of well being
or lack thereof
I admonish the blah and embrace my ultra creative
Releasing additional epithets of empathy for the boring
Tweaking more twists in my mind
I play with snippets of brainwaves to tease you
Hoping you would come out to rejoin the cognitive
and once again you'll be my muse
But you hide from me and I cannot accept that
Quit playing and bring that ass out...
Daddy needs to write more checks
2007 HassanOlumorotiNtimbanjayo
I just made that up... Whatever. I hope this thing still works.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How Hassan Got To Houston

That's right, I live here.

Lock, stock and all smoking barrels.

So how in the blue hell did I end up here? I knew something was wrong when I clocked a fever over 100 last Monday during the physical for the new job. Everything else was off too. I had what I thought was just a chest cold until that point. Although I had difficulty breathing and felt a little woozy, I never would have thought at all the climate change from Chicago to Atlanta to Houston would do me in.

It did.

So I sat there, my new coordinator pouting at the fact that I couldn't get on the road until I got clearance from a doctor, and me pouting, now knowing that within all of this movement, the packing and travelling, the flying and the wearing of the clothes (or lack thereof) damn near killed me. Funny, as a diabetic I have enhanced knowledge of some sorts of sick. This episode went right over my head. I mean, I didn't feel like I had pneumonia but I knew something was wrong.

I'm too good to wash out of the program, and the health thing was a setback only in the area of finance. I had planned on buying some new Apple branded products in the next month and without a salary, that's impossible to do. I was told to go home and recoup, to get well, bring a doctor's note and then I can have my assignment of alone. Once I healed up, I could run all over this country like a chicken with his head cut off. I agreed, then I reneged.

I have no home to go to.

I had made for damn sure that when I got back to Chicago that I would not plant roots. I broke so-called friendships and blew up bridges in an effort to not be home in that place. All I wanted when I returned back in October was to make Chicago temporary sanctuary until I got my shoulder fixed. I got medicated, rehabbed and took a small, non-impact position back in cubicle hell to keep the drinks coming. I did that, made a come-up on this new independent contractor assignment, threw away more stuff with plans on living out of bags full of portable hard drives and memory cards. I pulled the plug on being anywhere in Chicago, and for a moment in time Monday afternoon, I had to think about where I needed to go to lay my head.

Some of you may have a friend in Jesus, I have a friend in Houston.

I didn't even know if the company would pay my way here but they did, and I'm here now getting plenty of rest, breaking fevers and looking to getting back on the road. Thing is, I never expected to be here beyond a visit or eight. I never expected to like this place as far as living is concerned. I never expected to be kissed by the sun like this...

I like this place, and I can get used to being here if need be. That depends on my friend. I still have the hunger and the urge to set up shop in Atlanta, and at this point I'm sticking to my original plan. I'm just glad that I had Houston to come to. I'll get to the ATL, I might just need a moving truck when I make those plans to get there. As for the now, I'm better, most of the congestion is gone from my lungs and I actually had enough energy this weekend to go see 300. Even though I have a friend here, that friend has a life and other commitments, so a lot of stuff done so far in Houston has been done dolo. Alone. It's cool though. I need to explore things for myself anyway.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Coming Up For Air

Happy March campers!

Okay, so I took Black History Month off in order to get some things done. I had a bunch of things to do to properly secure my future as an artist and a writer. Let's see...

I quit my job
I slept and ate both in Texas and Georgia
I went back into the trucking industry
I got rid of even more stuff and now my possessions can fit into one bag

and a knapsack.

I got one step closer to getting to Africa by securing the new gig
I let a few so-called friends go and made a few new ones
I even got a 'Dear John' letter from someone I considered a friend


So February was busy as hell and I really didn't feel like blogging worth a damn. I did read and try to keep up and I see that I wasn't the only cat that decided to enhance my calm. A few folks even decided to call it quits, I can't do that.

Well not just yet.

Cool thing about the new gig, I travel and live on the road throughout the week and have weekends off, and I'm already working on making a few stops in NYC and ATL my surrogate home on those weekends. I made a hell of a lot of calls and sent a whole lot of emails as well as using standard postage getting promo materials out so I can do my thing and sell a few CDs and books. I'm almost done.

I have no clue when I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis, I'm back on the 'Hassan Cross-Country Ya Dig Tour' starting Wednesday. I'm headed out west this week and then the road back east gets travelled the week after that. I'm back in Chicago the last week of March/first week of April, so I'll try to keep up, take a lot of pics and update as much as I can.

I love busy.
Unless it's chilling with my brother
Or struggling thru that Chicago cold

Or chilling with my niece, even if it means a cleaning billOr just lamping in Houston