On Jan. 21, 2018, our loved elder, revolutionary leader and teacher Hon. Richard “Mafundi” Lake joined the Ancestors. For the many of us who had the privilege of being in the classroom of life with Ancestor Mafundi, let his transition serve as yet another lesson to us of the immediacy of our situation behind these walls and serve as a reminder of why we can’t wait to commit our all to the struggle to end slavery in America. We are, without any doubt, still slaves and chattel here in America for no reason other than the color of our skin.
Jazz was the opposite of everything Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, believed in. It is improvised, and relaxed, and free-form. It follows its own rhythm. Anslinger looked out over a scene filled with men like Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk, and he longed to see them all behind bars. In the end he scaled down his focus until it settled like a laser on a single target – Billie Holiday.
In the world of jazz, John Coltrane is viewed as a spiritually driven supremely gifted sax player, one of the greatest horn players to ever live. So when I ran into Gary Golio’s book “Spirit Seeker,” I was interested in seeing if he was trying to exploit our beloved St. John Coltrane or if he was trying to bring another generation into the knowledge of Coltrane’s legacy. He did the latter, masterfully.
In honoring Ms. Houston, will we talk about it or remain addicted to painting rosy pictures and acting like we aren’t touched by the scourge of addictions that’s systemic in our society? If we wanna honor Whitney, , how about helping put an end to the demons that plagued her and so many others? How about us having a honest, impactful and earnest discussion about addictions and mental health so we can spare future generations this pain.
Sobonfu Somé, West African healer, says that when people die and become ancestors, they get smarter and often try to repair any damage they may have made while in this physical form. Ancestors want to be busy making our lives better. She said we can call on them to intercede on our behalf when we are troubled.
Big Tobacco is the Mack Daddy of all corporate pimps. It knows when to come down hard and intimidating with its elite battery of highly paid executives, attorneys and scientists. And it equally knows when to quietly deflect attention by using – pimping – the front groups they keep on call to do their bidding.
Sizzurp. Purple Sprite. Lean. These are just a few of the names used to describe the deadly mixture of Sprite and a cough suppressant called promethazine-codeine syrup. This syrup sippin’ epidemic has become popular amongst young people of color, but when mixed with other drugs such as ecstasy, alcohol and marijuana it can be fatal.