Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some parenting advice from a single guy...

...I'm sure this will go over well.

I was inspired by Patton Oswalt.  When I heard his joke years ago, the one that's at the beginning of the video below,  he succinctly expressed what I experienced multiple times as a kid.  Oh yeah, and it's hilarious.

     As a parent, or just an adult in general, you don't want to lose your moral authority and respect that a child has for you.  Don't pass on your bigotry and fears onto the next generation.  In fact if you're a racist, just don't have children.  Get sterilized today!  And if you have outdated prejudices towards people of a different skin color, religion, sexuality, gender, weight, height, and attractiveness, keep those legs closed and take some anti-Viagra...I realize there is no anti-boner pill, so I'll start working on that for ya.  

     My family members, that were born in China, are xenophobic to the point of being bigoted towards people who are not from the same city they are from.  I immigrated to The U.S. with my parents in the summer of '83.  Y'all know the story if you've read my previous blog.  Shortly after starting 1st grade that fall, my aunt, who had been living in Raleigh, NC since the 70's, gave me some advice.  She told me to make friends only with other Chinese kids.  A moment later she added white people were ok to friend but definitely not blacks.  The rest of my family agreed with her statements.  Well, there was a problem you see.  I was the only Chinese, and Asian, in 1st grade.  The few kids that verbally teased and abused me were white.  The black kids in 1st grade were some of the nicest kids in the school.  So yeah, I stopped listening to my aunt after that.  I tuned out all her brainwashing lectures.  I just sat quietly, nodded occasionally, and waited for it to be over.  Any lessons of morality, even if just, I wasn't going to learn from her or the rest of my family.  I had to build my own moral code from scratch.  During 2nd grade, my cousin George became a fundamentalist Christian.  He argued with me - a 20 something vs an 8 year old - about the existence of dinosaurs and try to convince me "naked" was 1 syllable.  I couldn't stand being evangelized to, especially because of all of the contradictions to science(and later finding out all the hypocrisies)...and I fucking love science.  I was and still am wary of all authoritative constructs.  

     I want to end on a happier note.  Show your kids love that they can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch as much as possible.  A tangible expression to them means so much.  Spending time with them is worth the extra bit of tired you feel.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Road Less Travelled...

     The music industry is rough and even more so if you're female and a minority.  Not everyone is built for this game as they say.  It takes strength: in one's convictions, of will, and of emotions to resist the constant pressure to conform to a particular sound & appearance and endure the mysogistic feedback of "listeners."  Today I want to highlight 4 women who stood their ground and metaphorically yelled, "THIS IS SPARTA!"  They forged their own path and make the music they wanted.  And because it's good, the people came to them.

1.  Janelle Monae:  Even though Ms. Monae is signed to a major label, she is a free spirit.  Her unique aesthetic style sets her apart.  You can tell music and performing are her passions.  Her album sells don't do her justice(this is true for all the women I'll be mentioning).  At least she is keeping her face and name in the minds of our ADD world through commericals(CoverGirl, Sonos).

2.  Alexis Brown:  The oh so friendly, inconspicuous frontwoman for Straight Line Stitch, becomes larger than life when she performs on stage(reminds me of Rapsody).  The petite scream queen of metal has the lungs of Paul Bunyan.  She'll headbang with her band 1 minute and serenade a kid the next(2 dads brought their daughters to the Straight Line Stitch show in Raleigh 2 weeks ago. Both little girls rocked out; it was adorable).  

3.  Jean Grae:  It's tough being ahead of the curve.  If somehow the abstract concept of a grading curve can be magically applied to every woman's real world intelligence and lyrical skill, Jean definitely would set the curve.  You are sure to dismiss my statement, but here's someone that can explain her genius:

4.  Rapsody:  If she wasn't showing people the beauty of hip hop through her music, I can see Rapsody directly teaching young kids about hip hop...or any other subject.  That type of positive connection between the older generation and younger generation of hip hop is what we need more of right now.

Wow, I'm proud of myself for not digressing during this entry, and I was prepared to rant.  

Until next time,
Stay TUT

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hip Hop for Adults

     It's Thanksgiving tomorrow in the U.S.  I thought I would be helpful, as well as update this blog.  So here goes...You, like video games and hip hop, are closing in on 40 years.  It's prostate exams, mammograms, and colonoscopies from here on out.  You stopped playing video games and listening to hip hop after middle school.  Now with mid life approaching, you want to relive your well as the cliche of buying a sports car.  None of your friends and family play video games or listen to hip hop.  What do you listen to and play to give you that nostalgic feeling without having to play or listen to the old stuff?

Phonte - First and foremost, he makes great music.  It just so happens that this over 30 year old's skillful lyrics are also relatable to those over 30.  Escapism and living vicariously through an artist's songs are fine, but a deeper connection is established with the listener if the artist is talking about something the listener is going through...also helps that both are in the same tax bracket.

9th Wonder & Jamla Records - Heavily influenced by the 90's Golden Era, they are forging ahead with strong, deep boom bap roots.  They bring you that warm feeling, like the first time you heard "Electric Relaxation." 

Part 2 - Video Games...coming soon.