Flippant remarks about my birthday and Kwame Turé…

So it’s my birthday here on Earth as it is in the kinté space. The kinté space? Yes. This website is the very, very likely oldest, continually-running, Black/African cultural force on the Internet. I think there are about two ways to look into this: my kinté hits page and the Internet archive, its Wayback Machine.

InternetArchive.org: Wayback Machine for KinteSpace.com

The Blog in which these words appear, the rasx() context, dates back to 2005—so, again, one of the oldest Black/African voices on the Internet. —Why all of this “bragging” when my attendance at the last Blogging While Brown conference in Los Angeles went completely unnoticed?

When I turned 21 (in the 1990s), I was “bragging” about how the LAPD—or some other gang—had not murdered me. I knew the stats—the leading cause of death for Black men—and I was openly proud that all the wise ancestors that produced me survived all of the obstacles deliberately put in place.

My people perish for lack of knowledge. We all need to know the stats and we need to “brag” more and more about how we survive and sometimes thrive in what Chuck D called the “anti-nigger machine” or deeper still “intellectual Vietnam.”

The reason why a project like the kinté space would go unnoticed (especially here in the Americas) is because it is not a business. In Black Enterprise terms, the kinté space is like a very, very badly run 1980s bookstore with a dusty display in the shop window that looks abandoned but every now and then the neighborhood kids noticed a few display items moved around on the slatwall as they skateboard to the bus stop (okay, to be fair: lately, it’s been about 50,000 “neighborhood kids” a month).

Another way to look at the kinté space is like a really, really obscure house of couture. The house is run by seamstress that does work-for-hire sewing for other people—other more famous, financially wealthy people. Yes, I am that couture seamstress. I even have my own website with notes about threads. But I don’t own an overpriced fragrance that can make up for the money spent on runway shows.

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“Huh?”

“What is he talking about?”

Here’s my point: yes, it’s my birthday and I am older than most Black people who care to use the Internet properly. I understand that sometimes I am treated like “the old man at the club” in that Chris Rock joke. Instead of staying in my little world I research what is going on in other worlds. My research encourages me to continue badly-running kintespace.com until I am unable to do so. I have a few new ideas on the way and would like to try them out in near future.

When the kintespace.com is as popular as netnoir.com was or bossip.com has recently been then you know there has been foundational shift in Black world culture. The balance of power between the political/aesthetical poles of Haiti and the Dominican Republic has shifted back to Haiti, you dig?

“Huh?”

Next stop: Kwame Turé. He died when he was 57. I look forward to my 57th year, “bragging” about not being murdered by kale stalks in a kinté space future…

My respect for the heartbreaking moment in “Marley Africa Road Trip”

Much respect for the family ‘ceremony’ that David “Ziggy” Marley documented in Marley Africa Road Trip. Bob Marley’s eldest son was able to honor his father by playing a free concert in South Africa, trekking the roads with his two younger brothers, Rohan and Robbie, on bad-ass wheels (hopefully) sponsored by Ducati.

What is the heart-breaking moment (for me) was Ziggy’s inability to truly honor is mother (on the public stage) because he placed his trust and invested his time in these three “modern” chicks:

Marley Africa Road Trip

I’m not going to “spoil” it for you and tell you what these three did—but let’s just say that it was serious Babylon-system shit. What they did was premeditated (at least by one of them) and very, very typical of the Hollywood-tradition of the “reality” Tee Vee show.

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Let’s just say that a mean-spirited, apartheid-era, classical racist could not have insulted Bob Marley’s son more—with such precise intimacy—than what these three urban kids did. What would be more painful as an artist that is truly an idealist is to suffer the insult and then appear on the same stage with these people. Unlike Ziggy, these 21st-century kids from the “real” Africa would never see me in person again.

However, since I know for a fact that I (and I) am outnumbered by Babylon-system-Africans, I will say “on the positive side” that these young people did come and apologize to Ziggy for what they did (there are tons of diva-bitches here in Los Angeles who would never apologize for doing worse). But you can tell from Ziggy’s reaction to them that their apology cannot be trusted. To use Rasta-style, Old-Testament vocabulary, it is an abomination to have such people appear on the same stage as the son of Rita Marley—but the reality is Africa and all the Americas is raped-full of such shitty people—so, for the Marleys, the show must go on… J’ah live!

I (and I) must make mention of this: the Marley brothers were united under the principle that they would not charge Africans for their African-centered works. This is a principle that should be respected (or envied) by all so-called Black “artists” around the world. To present a free concert in Africa and then passively charge for the documentary leading up to the concert in mostly western markets is (to me) the right thing to do. This is an activist business model that we self-described Africans should be notorious for…

Chris Rock’s “Top Five” has better casual Black History talk than any comedy I have ever seen…

Real film reviewers have probably covered Chris Rock’s 2014 comedy Top Five. But I am flippantly certain that no one on this planet has evaluated this star studded film for its throw-away Black history lines. This shot right here, full of the best of them, makes me think of Wyatt Cenac’s Medicine for Melancholy:


Chris Rock’s “Top Five”

Wyatt’s lead and his love interest were in a fictional West-Coast city playing with relatively lightweight Black history quips, which were frustratingly one-sided (nothing coming from Wyatt’s Black woman—which is from my experience very, very realistic). It would never surprise me to discover that the researching habits of Chris Rock saw these scenes and had his female lead, Rosario Dawson, take it to another level in his movie.

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What does surprise me is that Chris Rock would get his ‘answer’ to Wyatt out in a film that is clearly designed to be mainstream vehicle (in contrast to, say, the more continentally domestic 2 Days In New York). Rock is making a serious attempt to get some Woody-Allenesque-anti-Semitic-lampooning depth into his on-screen Blackness. (Of course it would sting a little to find that the screenwriter who wrote all the Black history lines, featuring some gory details of the Haitian revolution, was just another educated white dude.)

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It should be commonplace by now that details about the many, many fascinating events of Black history should be thrown about in Black films. I should be complaining by now that yet another Black professor of Black history is consulting for Black Hollywood films. It is indeed melancholy that I have to praise a multi-millionaire dude of African descent in the heights of his career taking such care in the 21st century.

Dudes should be doing this right-straight from yard.

Anyway: thanks, Chris Rock.

A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace

Starting with Brian Kasoro and a few others that I am literally unable to name, Liberator Magazine has been one of the most consistent supporters of what I’ve been struggling with here in the kinté space. My relatively recent appearance on Twitter as @KinteSpace has been supported most enthusiastically by @liberatormag, making my Twitter experience pleasant.

But one day I went too far.

The @liberatormag Twitter account (I do not know exactly who is posting for @liberatormag at any given time) posted a link to an educational tool around a subject near and dear to my heart. So, you can see from my archive of the non-exchange, I began to send multiple messages about this educational subject to @liberatormag. These messages were not explicitly requested by @liberatormag. I just sent them—one after another.

When I first appeared on Twitter, I engaged in this behavior with at least two (supposedly female) Twitter accounts. These accounts blocked my account immediately, based in the context (evidently) that I “assaulted” them within some patriarchal/anti-patriarchal gender-political context. I learned very quickly to non-engage with such folk and since I have been alive for decades in the United States, without being put in handcuffs once, I can non-interact with people very, very well.

But I was too comfortable with @liberatormag.

A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace (Twinks without links)

What I am seeing from my curated ‘Twinks’ is me tweeting directly to a Twitter account while said Twitter account does not refer to my account directly, yet appears to directing messages to it because of the coincidence of Twitter-timeline context. I then use @KinteSpace to state that I perceive what is going on and then I stop. I’m done with that exchange.

What is important for me to remember is how folks these days not speak to each other. People (and by “people” I mean adults) appear to be so “smart” or so “busy” that they don’t have the time to respectfully tell another person that their presence is not welcome. It seems (perhaps) to be based on the assumption that the person asserting themselves is supposed to know that they should not speak unless they are spoken to—which is something I thought only mothers told their children.

Or (perhaps) it is more like the boss that is too timid to fire people and they just “hope” they go away… Enough with the guessing!

You see, kids, “my world” on the Web starts with the CompuServe forum (which existed before the Web)—not the fucking nightclub. I have this old man’s habit of thinking that I can just talk to anyone in the world about any subject (in a debatably “appropriate” context) just because I am on the Internet. I think the Internet is an extension of a college campus and not the military technology that it formed its genesis.

I habitually and too often erroneously see the Internet as a tool for the free exchange of ideas. I am reminded continually that it’s more like a tool for hierarchical, monetized socialization—based on New York night-life traditions, replicated throughout the urbanizing world. (This petty clique shit is also happening in the hard-core tech world as well.)

The Internet never had people in it—and now it’s probably out of ideas as well…

The bigger picture: Twinks are better than comments!

One of the things I learned very quickly in the hard-core tech wired world is that few folks are motivated to leave comments on your Blog unless they get the feeling people other than you will see their words. So, for the most part, you have people pretending to talk to you, talking around you for the sake of the larger “community.” Jeff Atwood’s StackOverflow.com addressed this situation head on and formalized this practice with positive effect.

What Twitter also provides, as a monetizing hierarchical socializing platform, is a centralized way to talk around people on a planetary scale. When the “Black Twitter” people are not talking to me, they often say the most interesting things (because when folks are talking to me these days it is mostly, “wha?” “huh?” and other North American hep-cat interjections). So, instead of complaining (more), I can sincerely demonstrate my respect for others (while they have no respect for me—okay, that was unfair of me) by ‘curating’ their Twitter tweets into Twitter-links or Twinks.

I built a crappy Twinks-building system (for myself) that utilizes Microsoft Azure in places. I use this system to turn tweets back into old-school Blog posts by dragging and dropping a stream-of-consciousness ‘collage’ of tweets into one big glob of HTML.

To me, Twinks take a snapshot in time—an image of my composition—of the history of the social-media world. It became quite clear to me how important this work is (for me) when the Ferguson, Missouri murder scandal broke out.

Twinks may also help to answer questions my adult children may have about why their father died sad and alone with his “dogmatic” ideas.

Great Folks Found in Dakar: Moyo Okediji [@DakartBiennale]

Moyo Okediji at the Global Black Consciousness Conference, Dakar

My short but much appreciated meeting with Moyo Okediji at Hôtel Sokhamon as he attended Global Black Consciousness for DAK’ART 2014 was my only classic journalistic moment for my two weeks on the continent. I saw him, introduced myself very quickly and attempted to secure an interview. You see, modern kids, I did not even know the name Moyo Okediji—but when I looked upon him I knew he was important and relevant to what I was looking for. After the “normal” search engine session, “we” can see Dr. Okediji in detail:

Moyo Okediji was born in Lagos Nigeria. Parents moved to Ile Ife when he was two. He had his primary education in Ile Ife, and went to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, for his secondary school. [He] returned to Ife for his university education in 1973, and was awarded a B.A. with honors in Fine Arts in 1977, by the University of Ife. He received his MFA from the University of Benin in 1982, and returned to the University of Ife, where he became a lecturer. He founded and led the Ona Artists in Ile Ife, where he taught classes in painting, drawing, ceramics and art history. He organized several international conferences and symposia, and edited proceedings from some of these events.

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Dr. Okediji is currently Professor of Art History and Director of the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas at The University of Texas at Austin.

After my equally appreciated meeting with Richard J. Powell, researching for books by Moyo Okediji is a must. This effort was fruitful! I am very much looking forward to getting my copy of The Shattered Gourd: Yoruba Forms in Twentieth-Century American Art.

What about the interview you may ask? Was it worthy of my DAK’ART press pass? The motion-picture interview is slated to appear in a documentary in production by R/Kain Blaze. Thanks very much to Dr. Okediji for taking the time.