Friday, December 31, 2010

A Prayer for New Year's

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you as humbly and lowly as I know how. Seeking the guidance that only You may offer. I know I haven't been the most diligent and dutiful believer, but I pray that you would forgive me of my transgressions and wrongdoings that I've committed knowingly and unknowingly.

Father, on this day, your children around the world often seek renewal. They seek redemption. They ultimately seek direction. I pray that you would renew their hearts with a mind to serve You properly. I pray that You would redeem them so that they may not suffer the fate of so many that choose unbelief and wickedness over faith. Most importantly, I pray that You give them direction. Unification of purpose. The type of path that can only be divinely ordered Father.

I know what you've done in my life Father. So, I know that You are real. I know that You've directed me for longer than I could possibly imagine and have ordered all of my tests, trials, tribulations, and triumphs Father. I thank You for all of them. I know the work that You've done in my life in just the past 6 months has amazed and conquered my doubt more than I knew to be possible. I'll ask You for no improbable things on this acknowledged day of change Father. I just pray that You continue to show Your face in every aspect of my life as You've been doing.

Thanks for listening...


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Obligatory New Year's Post...

First off, watch the video...

Secondly, this is the obligatory New Year's post that every blogger, writer, poet, and [insert cliched artists title here] is going to be doing over the next couple of days. I figured I would go on and get it out of the way, because the one I do on New Years Day will actually be kind of serious and personal...well, most of my writings are personal so that one will be serious.

Here we go.

This time last year I was in a relationship that I thought was going somewhere. Well, 12 months or so later...looks like I was wrong as hell. She's off saving the world one child at a time. I'm here in Iraq trying to stay safe and sane, writing to pass the time, and trying my hardest to do a good job at keeping up the morale of warfighters and contractors all over the country. She'd probably spit on me if she saw me. I'd probably try to cross the street and hope she doesn't hit me with a flying roundhouse kick to the scrotum if I saw her.

Last year as 2010 was coming around, I was enjoying a toast and a kiss in one of my favorite cities. This year, I'll probably wake up to the sound of car bombs and a snoring roommate before I walk about half a block away to take a shower in water that may or may not be hot.

Last year, 2010 began with me feeling drained and somewhat lost...2011, begins a much different way.

Why did I say that?

To let you all know that it doesn't matter how you start the New Year, your life will take you where its going regardless of your resolutions and how you bring in the new year.

Let the superstitions go. Put away the pot of black eyed peas for good luck. Stop cleaning those damn collard greens. I know some of you people out there believe in eating "chitlins" (or "chitterlings" for the bourgie people) on New Year's, I'm not exactly sure why....but feel free to put that 5 lb. bucket of pig guts down and air out your house to get rid of that smell.

More after the break...

I listen to that song every morning when I wake up...

Ok, so I know everyone's excited about making New Year's resolutions, but my question is, why?

If you continue to allow your past to negatively affect your present, then you'll let it negatively affect your future. Which means your resolutions aren't worth a warm fart on a cold seat.

It seems like all of 2010 was about me making amends for missteps of my past; I was tying up loose ends from previous years; taking out trash that had been around me for too long.

Alot of people always talk about cleaning people out of their phones and lives in the New Year. Why? Take their ass out throughout the year! Why waste your days on dead weight? Don't use the New Year as an excuse to do something that you KNEW you should've done in July? Seriously!

That's like, "Man...I really gotta use the bathroom...but you know what, I think I'm just gonna drop this deuce at Midnight because I don't wanna drop it today...what time is it? 4:00? Damn..."

See how crazy that sounds?!?!?!

Let stuff go when it NEEDS to be let go.

Last segment after this break...

If you didn't think that was cold...Hip-Hop is no longer in need of your services...

So, since I have no New Year's Resolutions, because I think they're pointless, I'll just give you guys 5 things that I learned and began practicing in 2010 that I'll be continuing in 2011

5. Controlling My Emotions - Once upon a time not long ago, when Bleek wore dreads and never moved slow/He was a little boy that was misled/by his own damn emotions this is what they said/You need to follow me and focus on the past/I'll lead you right and never make you sad...

Screw that...

I realized that most of the decisions I made for like 7 years of my life were emotional. That's BANANAS. I'm completely convinced that had I not been such an emotional person, I probably would've FINISHED writing the book I've started a total of 6 times now....and deleted 5 times. I probably would've had control over my bad habits ALOT sooner. Hell, a lot of stuff. Now that I'm BACK in control of my emotions (I'd slightly slipped for a second) I'm gonna be sure to keep them in check.

4. Plan More - This goes back to the emotions thing. Being emotional often made me spontaneous. Spontaneity can be a good thing in romance, sports, and "on your feet" decision making. It can be a HORRIBLE thing when planning for the future though.

3. Be a Better Father - I try really hard to see my daughter as much as possible. I know I can't see her while I'm here in the sandbox, but I'm definitely going to take advantage of the time that I have when I get back. I'm going to hug her and squeeze her to death. Buy her books instead of toys that make noise and drive her mother crazy. As a side-note to that, I'm going to make sure that I continue to let her mom know that I think she's doing an EXCELLENT job at raising our daughter day in and day out. She's an awesome mother to my little superstar.

2. Leave Crazy People on Crazy Street - I don't know what it is about me, but I meet the CRAZIEST PEOPLE on a regular basis. The thing is, since I'm a journalist, I find they have the most AMAZING stories and I tend to hang around them to see what's in their head. Some of them turn out to be AWESOME overall people! (Yes PSM, I'm talking about you.) Some of them turn out to be absolutely JL or LM...

Either way, people come into your life to either build or destroy. When I see they're there to destroy they GOTTA GO! ASAP!

1. DREAM BIG! - All of my closest peoples already know the plans I have in the works for 2011. I've already assembled a group of talented individuals to help make this a success. In return, I'm going to help many of them expand their dreams. I realized that while I revel in being a loner and cherish the "do for self" attitude that I've developed, sometimes a dream is only as good as its cast. The ULTIMATE DIRECTOR and PRODUCER is already there in the Most High...all we have to do is play our role and embrace our cast members.

Now somebody pass me a non-alcoholic beer...its a celebration...

-Bleek G.

Monday, December 27, 2010


First off, watch the video...

Today when I woke up, I did my morning routine...I put my feet on the ground, stretched, yawned, and then thanked the Most High for another day...even if I am in Iraq.

Then I did my daily ritual of checking my email and twitter accounts. I replied to a few emails and then migrated on over to twitter to see what my people back home were talking about...

What I saw when I logged in saddened and disappointed me. I saw CNN Journalist Roland Martin berating another black man for using the "N-Word". Now, not to be hypocritical, I use the "N-word" on a regular basis when talking to my friends and making jokes with them. I don't use it in mixed company, nor do I use it towards people (black or otherwise) that I don't know. Its respect, courtesy, and understanding.

Martin starts off with asking the guy, whom I know personally, "Before I smack the hell out of you on Twitter, let me first ask if you are an Alpha."

Now, as confrontational as I can be, I would've never said that to someone I don't know. Especially someone I suspected of being my fraternity brother. Considering the fact that Martin has a "bully pulpit" from which to lob bombs, I think it would've been more professional, appropriate, and even manly to simply say, "Hey brother, I don't like being referred to like that. That word offends me, and should offend you too."

Instead, Martin berates this man...repeatedly.

Another guy interjects...he begins to berate him as well, lumping them in the same category.

He's hurling insults and verbally flailing like a ten year old backed into a corner by bullies.

The whole time I'm thinking, "This is the man that BET, TV One, and CNN often use as a spokesperson for Black Americans? En masse? Really?"

I was disgusted...thoroughly.

Rather than engage the other people who invited him to discuss the word in a public forum (He was even offered the chance to come on a radio morning show to discuss it) he began throwing jabs at the people and where they were currently residing...lo and behold...Birmingham, AL. Wow...

At this point, I'd lost all respect for Martin...completely. Why? He'd lost his sense of commonality, of journalistic integrity even, for the sole purpose of education through verbal abuse. (As if that works.) THEN used Alpha Phi Alpha as a justification for his actions...WOW...our beloved fraternity is now a springboard for mutual disrespect. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME...

I'm done with Roland Martin for now...

On to the "N-Word" Check the video

Intent vs. Injury...I'm very familiar with the phrase and concept.

The brother that bore the brunt of Roland Martin's wrath began to argue that he didn't mean Nigga in the racist sense, but rather in the familial sense. He argued that the connotations, interpretations, and definitions of words change.

I agree. Completely. The definitions DO change. Does that make the word "Nigga" any less of a negative word? No. Does it take away the sting from the ears and heart of my grandmother when she hears it said? Probably not. Do the vast majority of young black people care? No....and I can understand why.

Nobly enough, Martin tried to appeal to this brother's sense of history by bringing up Martin Luther King and the upcoming memorial to Dr. King in DC...

This is what proved to me that Roland Martin is out of touch with black people in generations below him...

Most of us know who MLK is and was. We understand what Dr. King did for the Civil Rights Movement and black people in this country. We respect and applaud that.

HOWEVER, we were raised on artists like Tupac. Who used the word "Nigga" in many of his songs. He gave it the acronym "Never Ignorant, Getting Goals Accomplished".

Nigga rolled off the lips of our tangible role models like their names...

Tupac was who many of us saw as our "prince"...he was the example of black manhood we saw most often on our TV screens. Intelligent but not haughty. A lover AND a fighter. So complex, yet able to enjoy the simplicities of life. When he said on I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto "Mo nigga Mo nigga Mo niggas/Rather be a dead than a po' nigga" we saw that as motivation to be successful. He said, "And for once I was down with niggas/Felt good in the hood bein' around the niggas/and for the the first time everybody let go..." it was a soothing of our insecurities. It was a declaration of freedom, independence, and joy. We were free to just identified "niggas"...

Is it messed up? YEAH! Its f***ed up beyond belief that we could self-identify ourselves as a word with such a negative history. Its also naive to think that our world view as 20 somethings has been shaped by anything other than our media based influences.

We saw our Malcolm murdered in Tupac. We watched another of our heroes murdered in Biggie. We've seen countless numbers of our friends and loved ones die in the streets because of gang violence and the crack epidemic cosigned and paid for by the US Government. We lived in frustration when Amadou Diallo was murdered in the streets of New York. We mobilized, if only for a short time, when we saw the Jena 6 being mistreated. We shed silent tears when Sean Bell was gunned down. We were angry when we saw Oscar Grant's killer get a slap on the wrist. We felt pride when we saw Barack Obama get elected to the Presidency and celebrated (albeit in a kind of backwards way) by singing along to Young Jeezy's My President Is Black.

So with all these things influencing our world view...all the things that have shaped my generation of Black Americans, all of the issues that 20-somethings all over Black America are facing (At times broached by Roland Martin's colleague Soledad O'Brien).....we are still battling over the "N-Word"...

For lack of a better phrase...Nigga Please...

Check the video

See what Gil Scott Heron did...he spoke to my generation from a place of understanding and genuine caring...

Now is that so hard?

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Blame Game...

"I make the most of what comes and the least of what goes."

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

"Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart do not know how to laugh either."

"Everyone tells me I should forget about you, you don't deserve me. They're right, you don't deserve me, but I deserve you."

"Moving on is simple, it's what you leave behind that makes it so difficult."

"I don't miss her, I miss who I thought she was."

"You know you love someone when you want them to be happy even if their happiness means that you're not part of it."

"We don't stop loving someone, we simply learn to live without them."


So, I just got off the phone with one of my homies that was recently divorced. It was probably the second saddest conversation I've had in my life. The first is slightly embarrassing so I'll save that for another blog post when I get back to the real world...

This man is still absolutely in love with his ex-wife. He hasn't been to sleep in like 2 or 3 days because he can't stop thinking about how good he felt to have his lady around him during the holidays. Showing her off to all his friends, taking her around his family, and just waking up to her face. She left him in February...the day after Valentine's Day.

He blames her. She blames him...that's typical though.

This dude is really sad, and my heart goes out to the guy. I told him that I would talk to him and be there for him as much as I could while he goes through this period of longing and heartbreak.

I started to wonder though....

We read daily about how heartbroken and low women are after a breakup or divorce, but what about the men that are destroyed by it too? I know I've been BENEATH the bottom after a breakup before. Here's my little story about it. Feel free to laugh at my sorrow.

Once upon a time, Bleek was so in love it was coming out of his ears. All my boys knew it. My folks knew who she was and everyone on EARTH that came in contact with me, knew this woman's name. Why? Because I talked about her constantly! Bleek was in LOVE!

Well, she wasn't...

So much so, that she lied to me and cheated on me. I hated her for it. Yet and still, I loved her and wanted to work it out. I was so upset that I couldn't speak to her for quite a while. What did I do though? I drank...ALOT

I remember sitting in my place wearing a tank top, some basketball shorts, and one tube sock. I was clutching a bottle of Jim Beam Black and watching Brown Sugar. I had it on mute though and was reciting the lines. I had Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You" and "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" on ONE CD playing on repeat. I would go back and forth from reciting lines to singing along. It went something like this: "So when did you fall in love with hip-hop? Girl I love youuuuuuuuuu, more than you'll ever knooooooooooooow. More than you'll eeeeeeeeever knooooooooow"

Yeah, I was trippin....I was drunk and heartbroken. I can laugh about it now. After that I was bitter as hell and went straight into "Hoe Mode", no relationships for me folks!

I blamed her for my feelings.

Then one day I thought about it. If that bit of pain was Karma's way of knocking me on my proverbial ass, then I got off kind of easy...

That same logic has me thinking though...what did my homeboy do to deserve this sista though? I mean, my boy's no saint, but he wasn't NEARLY as bad as I was when it came to females and running the streets...

I guess, love is just a crap shoot and in the end, we all want somebody to blame for our heartache, our heartbreak, and our loneliness...

What we need though is someone to help us put it in perspective and help us face the situation too though...

Thank God for clear vision

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hip-Hop Ain't Dead...

So, if you were to listen to the radio, you'd probably here the following artists: Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Soulja Boi, 50 Cent, and a plethora of others that people blame for the downfall of hip-hop. While they aren't my favorite artists in the world, they have just as much a place in hip-hop as others like Talib Kweli, Common, Black Thought, Jay-Z, and other MCs that earned their stripes.

Why do I say that? Well, hip-hop is just as much about social commentary and introspection as it is about partying and having a good time. If you're a hip-hop head or have taken an Af-Am Studies course at some point in your life, let me ask you a question...

What did the Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army, and other revolutionaries of their time do when they wanted to unwind? They partied...they danced...they smiled...

Granted, their music typically had some sort of social meaning or message to them. However, these same revolutionaries worked hand-in-hand with the pushers. The deplored their actions and attempted to get them to educate themselves and aid in the struggle.

Out of these conditions (amongst others...) hip hop was born.

Fast Forward to 2010-2011...Hip-Hop is filled with tracks like "Toot It & Boot It" and any song with the word "swag" in the title...if you were to take that and look solely at that, you'd think hip-hop was on life support. Here's proof that Hip-Hop is still alive and kicking...more after the break.

Small examples there folks...serious business...if you want to find hip-hop, you will. If you want to sit on your ass and complain about the lack of good hip-hop, you'll do that too.

I suggest you follow Dead Prez's advice and Turn Off The Radio

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blog Name Change....

I'm thinking of changing the blog name to Runteldat...


Finally Put it All Together...After a few Decades...

"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.:

--John Jakes


Have you ever had a SERIOUS moment of clarity?

I don't mean that, "Man I know I gotta go to work in the morning but I've drank WAAAAAY too much tonight" kind of moment of clarity.

I mean that one moment in your life that you FINALLY put it together. Where all your struggles and all you failures make sense?

When all the things you've learned in the hallowed halls of academia and in the pissy hallways of the school of hard knocks come together.

That moment of clarity that says, "This is your purpose...bout damn time you found me."

I had that recently....

Damn shame I had to join the Army and come halfway around the world to a war zone to realize it though.

If you didn't know by now, I'm a journalist. A writer. A guy who seeks information. The only thing is, I never wanted to be the journalist to get that hard hitting expose on government corruption. I've never had the desire to interview a president, general, or any sort of dignitary about foreign policy or anything dealing politics or business...

That's not why I became a journalist.

I became a journalist to tell stories.

Its funny (and corny as hell) that the thing that influenced me most to want to tell these stories was (here it comes) Boyz N The Hood. (Stop really...stop.)

That ending scene where Ice Cube says, "Either they don't know, don't show, or just don't care what's going on in the hood..." resonated with me as a kid. Even to this day, I contend that the vast majority of news outlets don't tell the stories that are going on in people's real lives. Most politicians are WAAAAY out of touch with what's going on in Anycity, USA.

The void for me has always been there...who's going to tell our stories? Not "our" as in black people...that's not where I'm going. I'm saying "our" as a collective American voice. So, I became a journalist for that very reason.

I've always been drawn to modes of creative expression. At one point, I felt as though hip-hop was a Universal voice for the American Struggle. There are welfare moms of every race and ethnicity. Latchkey kids from every background. Victims of gun violence from every walk of life. I was drawn to it, immersed myself in least until it became obsessed with "swag", delusions of triple beams, and buying a bunch of shit that most rappers couldn't pronounce 6 months ago.

But I digress, Hip-Hop always told a story...and many artists still do. That's why I still love it.

Spike Lee is my hero. When I was younger, I thought Mo Better Blues was the coolest movie I'd ever seen in my freaking life! (As you can tell by the title of this blog, I still do) I've seen EVERY Spike Lee film to date and I've always been absolutely fascinated with his storytelling abilities. His characters hit home to me. Why? Because I know I guy like Mookie (Do The Right Thing), I know a kid like Jesus Shuttlesworth (He Got Game), I used to be Dap (LOL! School Daze), and I have a severe disdain for (and am afraid of one day becoming like) cats like Pierre De La Croix (Bamboozled)

I feel like from childhood...birth even...I was blessed with the ability to tell stories. I have my own weird, damn near unbelievable story. But, I don't really care to tell mine. I am here to tell the stories that no one knows or pays attention to.

I put together a PowerPoint presentation today about soldiers here in Iraq. One line said, "There are 50,000 troops still here. That means there are 50,000 stories to be told."

All I'm looking for is a'll see them soon...


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About Me

Beneath the Underdog
I'm a black music aficionado with a lot of opinions...nothing more, nothing less...