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Whoa! Just a Minute…or

Note: This blog was originally written in Nov. of 2005. I am currently compiling the best articles from then up through today. I’m going to enclosed them in an e-book

The Soul in Our Music

Whenever you mention the word soul to people in this day and age, one might get the idea you are thinking in religious terms. Or they may feel you are

Hey Black Folk, It’s Our Time and Turn

Have you ever had that feeling that something you have created may be your best work? Maybe you have reaching a level in your career that might be one of

Thoughts of Black History Month 2014

Back in the day, I’d hear older people say to anyone listening in a matter-of-factual manner, “I don’t have as much patience as I did when I was a youngster.” 

The N Word is not a Term of Endearment

Jarrett Mathis, Founder of Empowering Ourselves, Inc. wrote an in-depth article entitled “Black Music, The Mis-Managed Gift.”  The gist of the post, via Blogger Jessica Ann Mitchell’s, Our Legaci.com site,

Footprints into 2014 and Beyond

I was to fulfill a promise I made to God in 2012. I don’t even remember what the almighty was supposed to do for me, probably because it was secondary

Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953

Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953. Over the last several Arkansas years, Gracie Hall-Hampton had become somewhat callous in manner. Friends, family,as well as foe, say dealing with her could

Who really has a Slave Mentality

Note: This blog taken from the blogs home page of www.Katara-Rhythm.com, “Hamp’s Corner of America”. My wife and I went to see the movie, “12 Years a Slave”. The film

Mr. President, About Obamacare…

(From Hamp’s Corner of America at www.Katara-Rhythm.com.) Mr. President, I voted for you, twice. As a black man, I am appalled at how you and your family are treated by

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Whoa! Just a Minute…or

Note: This blog was originally written in Nov. of 2005. I am currently compiling the best articles from then up through today. I’m going to enclosed them in an e-book format that’s due for release around the middle of June. Stay tuned to my web sites and blogs for further details. Meanwhile check out one of my favorites, entitled,

 

Whoa! Just a Minute, or

You are not as smart as you think you are. And…I’m not as dumb as I look.

 

How many times per day you run into people who think they are smarter than you? When I am out, and about, some days, as many as three, four, or five complete strangers will challenge my intelligence. Is it just me? Am I getting paranoid?

 

How about, the busy cashier who talks to her neighboring cashier while she is ringing up your groceries? If you correct her, she will give you that death stare.  You had a lot of nerve interrupting her conversation because you wanted to pay 99 cents per pound for tomatoes as marked, instead of the 1.99 per pound she punched into the cash register. She rolls her eyes as you exit the door and you feel the comment she makes in lieu of hearing it. “Who does that idiot think he is…Mr. Important?”

 

If you haven’t run into those types of people, you must be a shut-in that never leaves your house. Come to think of it-you may not have to leave your residence. These people will find you.

 

Why, I bet there are mail-persons, newspaper carriers, Fed Ex, UPS, and all sorts of self-aggrandized VIPs who think they are more intelligent than you.

 

How about the newspaper carrier who becomes impatient and fed up with your attitude? I mean, who are you to insist the paper land at or near your front door? So what if you have to climb a tree in your bathrobe? What is wrong with crawling under the car in the driveway? It’s vigorous exercise. Or you can simply move the car before you try to pick up your paper, he advises. “You do know where the keys are, don’t you, he asks?”

 

No! He will not get a ladder and retrieve the paper he threw up there. He will remind you that they are your rain gutters, idiot.

 

He will tell you he has a lot of stops to make and have to drop his eleven year old off at school. How dare you impose upon his timeline.

 

In fact, you are lucky you got a paper yesterday, he would say. Your neighbor, Mr. Haney didn’t get his morning paper. Why? Because I threw your paper so hard trying to hit your front door, I didn’t have time to pick up another paper and re-cock my arm to make another throw toward Mr. Haney’s door. After all, I was driving my car at 25 miles per hour. Your houses are entirely too close together. And I don’t actually have time to explain these things to you every morning. So before you call the office, look around for your paper. In fact, you may want to check with Mr. Haney, he may have a paper because it was his turn to get one. Do you understand? As he walked away, I could hear him say…”Jesus Christ…what an idiot.”

 

The FedEx person will leave whatever they deliver at your front door if it doesn’t require a signature. My wife and I have become familiar with their modus operandi. You hear a truck come to a stop, the doors open and there is immediate silence. “Are you expecting a notary signing package” she asks? Before I can answer, we hear the loan papers envelope hit the front door entrance, the doorbell chime sounds off followed by the startup of the truck as they start to drive away, all in the span of 9.5 seconds.

 

I’ve often wondered and actually looked at their shoe types to see why I never hear them walking (or running) up the 16 feet to our front door. Talk about running silently. They could enter an Olympic event based upon the speed alone.

 

I’ve begun making a game out of it. At the sound of the package hitting the front door walk-way, I’ll make a mad dash to open my front door before they have made it back to their truck. Sometimes I win. It depends on where I physically am in my house, in relation to the front door. More often than not…I lose.

 

I…being a Notary Public who receive an average of four to five loan packages per week via various carriers, had the nerve to ask a FedEx driver what I thought was an extremely serious question. “What happens if we are on a two-week vacation? Who would be responsible for the package? Obviously I am talking about the delivery of an unexpected package from, let’s say JC Penneys? Who would be responsible for the package?”  The guy gave me that familiar are you some kind of an idiot stare and responded with, “My job is to deliver the package.” He then turned and dashed back to his truck, started it up, and closed the door in one motion. I could have swore I heard him say as he drove away, ”What an idiot.”

 

I’ve got to hand it to my mailman. He is on time (about 10:00 to 10:30 a.m.) with his deliveries and thorough. He will ring my doorbell and actually wait until someone answers the door to hand you a package that will not fit in our mailbox. He may or may not be smarter than I am, but he certainly is in better shape.

 

Anyway, from time to time, he will test my knowledge of old blues song artist. “Can I change my mind,” he asked. “Oh yeah, that song is by Tyrone Davis,” I answered. “That’s pretty good. Okay, see you later,” he said as he turn and walk away. You could tell he was thinking of another challenge for the next time.

 

It took me several weeks to figure out why he would challenge my artist-to-song recognition. You know how you are sitting around, and a thought flashes into your mind. Why, he delivers my CDs from Columbia House. That’s how he knew about my interested in music. See…I told you he may be smarter than I am.

 

When he is sick, or God forbid on vacation? The entire neighborhood gets upset. This past summer he was out almost two months. We all were asking the same question. Where is our regular mailman? Why, you ask?

 

You ever see a mail person delivering mail by stopping her little jeep at every mailbox in the neighborhood? This was such an unusual sight for me that I had to watch this entire ritual as she made her way around our little Cul de sac. She would get out and walk to the mailbox return to the jeep and drive to the house next door. Now mind you, our mailboxes are about 16 to 20 feet apart. Can you imagine that type of delivery process?

 

I receive mail so late one day (about 5:00pm), I suggested he take it back with him and bring it back along with the next day’s mail at a more respectable hour. The little guy who was using the same jeep delivery process as the lady, just laughed. I guess he thought I was joking. And damn if he didn’t mumble something as he drove to the next mail box. I could not understand him, but could it have been the word idiot?

 

At times, the whole neighborhood was on mailman watch, especially on a Saturday. Neighbors were hollering across, up and down the street. “Have you seen the mailman?”

The old guy across the street and I got into a routine. We’d both walk to our respective mailboxes in unison, look into it, turn, wave at each other, shrug our shoulders a couple of time, throw up both arms, shake our head, turn and walk back into the house.

 

It took me a while to realize we had gotten this routine down to an art. So much so, that I started doing things out of sequence just to trip the old man up. Wow, am I dumb or just mean? Yes, it got to be quite a ritual. Finally, our regular mailman returned. I found that out by the ring of our doorbell one day. I didn’t hear a FedEx truck as I walked to the door, I thought.

 

“Damn man! Where have you been” I asked the smiling regular mailman? “I’ve been on sick leave,” he went on to explain his absence for the umpteenth time, he said. That’s right. Ninety percent of his customers along his route were asking the same question. That was because every time I asked one of his replacements, I never got the same answer. In fact, it was always the same idiot, do you want your mail stare. “Glad to have you back”, I said. We went through another blues question and answer game before he left.

 

And so it goes. The only one that doesn’t think they are smarter than me is the little six-year-old next door. But then again, the way she looks at me some time with those little cute inquisitive eyes makes me wonder. At the time, I could be doing some grown-up thing like washing the car while talking to her. All of a sudden, she becomes quiet.  It’s as if she is thinking, “You must be some kind of a fool talking to me in half baby-speak. I do my homework on a computer. No wonder my folks think you are an idiot.”

 

You see what I mean?

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p436aY-3x

Get my latest book, a tribute to my grandmother entitled, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

The Soul in Our Music

Whenever you mention the word soul to people in this day and age, one might get the idea you are thinking in religious terms. Or they may feel you are speaking of in a psychic’s terminology, as in how man’s soul mesh with the rest of the universe. Yet, I guarantee that if you mention soul to an old school dude or gal, they will undoubtedly state with conviction, “Do I have soul? Man…you damn skippy I got soul.

 

You see back in the day (I know, here I go again), soul was an indispensable ingredient that contributed to one being cool, hip, and down with it. On  one hand, it defined you, guided you, and gave one a sense of being. A primary requirement was one had to be able to dig soul music and dance to it. There were the normal funny sounding dances, The Funky Chicken, The Bump, The Bump & Grind, The Stomp. If you couldn’t dance you grabbed a girl and faked it. The house party lights were so low; people were just flickering shadows in the strobe lighting. Those flickering type lights made all the dancers seem like they “were getting down”.

 

If you were black, supposedly you were born with soul. All the other races had to acquire it in some way which there actually was no set formula. The word was, they would have to know and hang around black people to help them define and acquire this thing called soul. ‘Cause without soul, you just…well…you was just another “square”. A square you ask? Why, somebody who had no Soul. At least that was one theory.

 

However, the theory of the day was always being tested for authenticity. Evidence of that fact were blue-eyed soul singers such as the Righteous Brothers whose tune entitled “You’ve lost that loving feeling” was “number one with a bullet” on the Billboard and R&B Charts. The band Wild Cherry did their thing with “Play that funky music White Boy”. Other bands such as The Average White Band, Simply Red and Doobie Brothers displayed enough soul in their music to let everyone know that blacks did not have a monopoly on this rare and strange connotation and or use of the word soul. This irritated some who would often state in disgust, ”Aw Man, we can’t have nothing to ourselves.”

 

It’s was all about the music, the beat and lyrics. In blues, a singer is talking about an event that has happened or going to happen and its making them sad. In Soul Music, it’s about the love found, receiving, giving, or maybe wishing one had. It goes as deep as feeling the hot breath of your main squeeze while making love. The fresh kiss of someone you just met, describing the way they look, walk, and talk that turns you on. Remember “She’s a Bad Mama Jama?”

 

It appeals to your senses while causing you to reflect on a love affair you’ve had or are currently involved. There’re some old-school songs I hear that make me look at my wife of 44 years and see a seventeen year-old foxy brick house with a medium afro and wearing a mini-skirt that made me weak in the knees while looking at her walking towards me. What immediately comes to mind is the Isley Brothers cut, “For the Love of You”. You can almost hear Ron Isley singing “Drifting on a memory, there’s no place I rather be than with you, baby.” Now that’s what I’m talking about. Add the soft melodic music to that or hard- driving beat to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and you’ve got what has become known as Rhythm and Blues. There is Aretha Franklin calling for “Respect”. It’s the music that makes you feel the emotion, your feet are tapping, fingers popping, body moving to the groove. Think of how Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” make you want to run to the dance floor or get it on in place. That’s just a sampling of Soul and R&B.

 

Record Labels pushed for the undisputed reign of Soul Master. Motown, with Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and countless others had tremendously successful singing careers. Listening to any one of these legends would give one a skilful awareness of soul applied in the presentation of lyrics delivered in a song. Why even James Brown stated in a song, “I got soul, and I’m super bad”. And I know you’ve heard him referred to as the Godfather of Soul. No doubt, JB had soul.

 

There was the Philly sound (1966-1976) era with Billy Paul, Mr. “Me and Mrs. Jones” himself. Others included Teddy Pendergrass (alone and with the group), Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The OJ’s, The Intruders (Cowboys’ to Girls’). Old schooler’s can relate to one of my favorite cuts. I can almost hear the lead singer of the Intruders sang out…

“I remember…when I use to play shoot um up.” The boys in the background would go “Shoot-up bang, bang…bang, bang baby…woo,ooo.”

“I remember…when I chased the girls and beat-um up.”

“But I was young and didn’t understand, but now I’m a grown up man.”

“I know girls are made for kissing, never knew what I was missing.” Background goes, “Woo, ooo, ooo.”

“Now my life is not the same…my whole world has been rearranged”    

 “I went from Cowboys to girls.”

 

Believe me that particular song spoke to my soul.  Those were songs young men could relate to. Video games were not invented back then. A kid played cowboys and Indians on a daily basis mimicking the numerous westerns that were shown daily on TV. That song reminding me of my childhood except for the part about beat-um up. We chased the girls just to watch them run and played a little boy tricks on them, but never beat-um up. If that happened, we could not have gone home because mom and pop would have beat us up.

 

For those of us from that era or are just curious about the lives of those entertainers, there is a treat just for you, other than Hitsville USA in Detroit. Today, there is a museum that displays those down home soul singers and groups that grabbed you by your imagination and forced your feet to tap, fingers to pop, and mouth to try to sing along.

 

Stax, Museum of American Soul Music or as it’s has been dubbed by its creators, “The Jewel in the Crown of Soulsville, USA”. It has been open since 2003 while celebrating all of the Stax labels recording artist, some of which you may have heard of, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Johnny Taylor, The Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, Booker T and the MG’s. On permanent exhibition is Isaac Hayes 1972 “Superfly” Cadillac.

 

The label went bankrupt in 1975 but has ensured the rich history of music in that era will be heard, its songwriters work identified and viewed, along with various paraphernalia and unpublished pictures of their recording artist, owners, and assorted musicians.

 

In fact if you go to their website at http://www.soulsvilleusa.com/ You will find the following lead-in verbiage on the About Soulsville page.

 “For many years, the Memphis neighborhood known as Soulsville USA was a bustling and thriving community where a young grocery sacker named David Porter became one of Stax Records’ most famous songwriters, where Aretha Franklin was born and sang in her father’s Metropolitan Baptist Church until moving to Detroit at age eight, where Calvin and Phinneas Newborn honed their jazz skills, where Al Green recorded his super hits of the 1970s at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios, where Maurice White grew up and grew into Earth Wind & Fire, and where Elvis Presley sneaked into Rev. Herbert Brewster’s East Trigg Avenue Baptist church as a teenager to listen to gospel music, much of which Rev. Brewster had written for Mahalia Jackson.”

I don’t want to steal their thunder, but you have to check out the rest of the story. The lead in details how a community and supporters banded together to accomplish a dream of providing a place where music lovers of all colors can view exhibits and take part in programs offer by Stax, Museum of American Soul Music.

 

Last summer, my wife and I visited the Memphis TN, museum and was taken aback by the exhibits. The tour provides a walk through time, that should be experienced by anyone who likes music.

 

It is refreshing to hear that soul music is still alive of which you can hear from various hip hop artist of today. They may call it Old School or whatever, but I can still hear that cut that asked the question…”Do you like Soul Music…yeah, yeah?”

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at  http://wp.me/p436aY-3q

 

My Business Associations,

www.chiia.com           http://www.5Linx.net/L460450/

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

Hey Black Folk, It’s Our Time and Turn

Have you ever had that feeling that something you have created may be your best work? Maybe you have reaching a level in your career that might be one of the great accomplishments in your life? You are beaming with self-appreciation. Your immediate family looks at you with renewed pride. Your friends are happy for you. The world is your oyster including the invaluable pearl inside.

Yet one person, maybe a few, which may even be a family member, remembers when you were not this recently announced brilliant individual. They make a negative remark about your skills. Maybe they go farther and for some reason, known only to them, take some kind of action to rain on you parade. They want to know, “who does he or she think she is?”

That’s right, there are always haters. Some people cannot for the life of themselves take you for who you are today. They remember when you were a less talented, confused individual without any goals in life, or in their mind, the wherewithal to become successful at anything you do. It’s from a time when you were living your life on a devil-may-care day-to-day basis, and having fun with it. Or you may have been struggling just to find out who you were at the time.

They’ve put you in their little identity box they crafted specifically for you. The ID box often includes where you were born, education, who your parents were or even your physical appearance. Will they ever take you out of that box? No, because they don’t want you to succeed. If you are not who they think you are and you make a success of yourself; that will make them start questioning themselves, and their lack of accomplishment.

Shame on them for not seeing you as you are today. To you, for whom your growth, maturity, and successes really count, you have achieved a status in life that once seemed unattainable. You are finally content with yourself.  Others you know and meet understand how difficult it is to reach this level much less maintain it.

Almost any upward mobility program of improving your wealth, becoming a great actor, or any kind of entertainer, making a success of your business, or simply improving your profit margin will agree on one simple fact. All successful people surround themselves with other successful people. They don’t spend their time and energy on individuals who are talking loud, often and saying nothing worthwhile in particular. Because if you do, you will spend time going sideways instead of up, as you well know.

Here are a few characters to avoid doing business with, or worst, hanging around with at all cost. We know them well.

Mr. or Mrs. Know-it-all:   This person dominates the conversation from the moment you two are introduced. There is no pause while they are talking; they’ve placed you in their little box. Since they know everything about everything, they have determined that you are not as smart as they are. Therefore anything they tell you should be of monumental value to you. If you don’t agree with their ideas, then you’re more of a fool than they originally thought.

Mr. or Mrs. I’m Handsomely Beautiful:  This person loves the spotlight so much they will construct a spotlight so they can have it shine on them. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of the dumb blonde advocates. Some nice looking people have great business sense and are personable. Just not this one, whose business priorities start, meet in the middle, and end with them. There is just no there…there. Their foundation is built on mirrors.

Mr. or Mrs. My Idea or None: This is the person that stands out in a meeting who offers an idea for all to consider. When for whatever reason, their idea is dismissed; they turn against the entire project. For each and every idea that is offered for debate, they are the first and last person to disapprove by providing reasons why it would not work.

Mr. or Mrs., you are on my side because we are friends: The title pretty much sums up the attitude. I would only add that once you disagree with them, you are no longer their friend, and in fact may have created an enemy.

Mr. or Mrs., We are Family:  Lord help you if you have got to experience this one. It’s a cousin to the one above “because we are friends”. They feel the word Family should give them all the privileges afforded a person with a good idea or capital to invest. Most have nothing to offer except their relation to you. It’s like having another dependent.

Mr. or Mrs., I have and gave you my Money: This is a hard person to shake because they have provided funded for your venture. You want them to trust you when you report on earnings or losses. Because the Profit and Loss process have been explained, most people will understand, except this one. It’s as if they have to follow you around, judging each and every one of your decisions and offering advice that they may or may not be capable of giving.

You get the idea from the aforementioned examples that the traits of these people are interchangeable. One person can have more than one of these traits.

When you hear haters talk about the lack of opportunities, or the will of our people to succeed. When you hear some rappers refer to our neighborhoods as the ghetto or streets devoid of any worth or virtuous people for that matter.

Compare that rhetoric to the recipients you see on award shows like NAACP’s Image Award, Black Girls Rock, Essence , BET Honors, to name a few. Look at the films from last year, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, or the many releases from Tyler Perry. Pick up and read a Black Enterprise, Jet, or Ebony, magazine. You will find examples of black people picking themselves up, after being knocked to the ground, going on to win the race of respectability. It is that inherited strength, the will to keep on keeping on, the innate ability to survive and thrive amidst powerful economic forces created to make our race obsolete. That is a gift from our ancestors.

The only one that controls your destiny is you. That is the decisive fact to remember here. The person that speaks for you, possess your talent, is you. You have to believe in yourself when others do not, and it honestly makes no difference who those others are.

Let’s assume that this accomplishment is in the world of business. The idea is to craft a plan, gather required resources, enough capital to keep the business running for at least two years without expecting a large profit, reinvest most of the profits in the venture to build a stronger foundation or expansion. Always keeping an eye on the competition and pending changes in the technology of your field.

Having noted that, let’s look at the most remarkable invention to come along since sliced bread. That would be the computer. I knowmost of you are going “Duh?” I just feel that every now and then we, as entrepreneurs, writers, non-profits need to be reminded of the capabilities of the computer.

Before smart phones, tablets, and I-pads there was the desktop CPU.  A unit, when paired with software programs, enabled one to produce professional documents or works for their business. For the young entrepreneur, it is the perfect equalizer.  It allowed us to produce like the large corporations. That, more than anything else, will help you become who you want to be.

It is incumbent upon us to utilize the unit in the best possible manner that affords a comfortable means of support. Before we spend a large amount of money for a smartphone and data plan where one uses approximately 30% of its applications. We need to evaluate what is best for our business. How about someone who bought that expensive Tablet or I-Pad only to find out they need to purchase an additional keyboard, speakers, and a printer that comes with a normal desktop computer? Be sure you are not buying the hype instead of what is necessary to facilitate your work process. Be fashionable later but secure what’s required for proper productivity in the beginning. I’m just saying…you do want to get to your time and turns…don’t you?

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at  http://wp.me/p436aY-3k

My Business Associations,

www.chiia.com           http://www.5Linx.net/L460450/

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Thoughts of Black History Month 2014

Back in the day, I’d hear older people say to anyone listening in a matter-of-factual manner, “I don’t have as much patience as I did when I was a youngster.”  I understood what they meant, but then again, I was not aware of what they actually meant until I became a senior citizen.

Once a person reaches the age of fifty, it seems that overnight, they have no patience for dumb crap, no matter how it’s packaged and whom it comes from. If you are not their grandchildren, the younger the better, ideally a toddler, don’t talk to them about, ask them any stupid questions, or ask that they participate in any activity that reeks of bull crap. They will always view such nonsense as a waste of their time. If you don’t believe me ask your family senior citizen a dumb question and watch the expression on their face, even before they say those tell-tell words of disgust with you, “Fool, what is wrong with you?” Or “I know you were raised to be smarter than that.”

Now that you pretty much understand that this is going to be a serious article, about this Black History Month, let’s examine where we are as people.

Keeping with the theme, black senior citizens, at least those that were around before, during, and right after the Civil Rights era of the sixties, have seen gains from that time watered down or cancelled legislatively. They’ve witnessed the apathy from family members, neighbors and even so-called leaders on Martin Luther King Day activities. Are our younger black folks living in such an illusionary state that they think any actions they take will have no effect on the powers that be? They certainly know what’s going on in our neighborhoods.  Did you hear about the financial losses experienced by the MLK Freedom Train last month? So much so, they are contemplating if they should sponsor the event for 2015.

In spite of our numerous contributions to American society in the past and present, are we becoming irrelevant because of our declining numbers across the U.S.? Even worst, have we as a race become so complacent with our own limited successes that we say, I got mine now you go get yours. And something that’s worst, and certainly concerns me, are we letting other people define who we are today? Do we care if we are associated with thugs, dope dealers, spoiled athletes, baby makers who are not supportive of the offspring they bring into the world? Do they think we all walk around with our trousers hanging below our butt, or can’t complete an audible sentence?

A large number of them, and I am talking about anybody other than black people, all think we are stupid people. They see a race that has no direction, no loyalty to family or friends, loud mouth, pushy, lacking manners and are dishonest to our core.

Suppose an alien from another planet came down to record two weeks of human life on this planet. Somehow they mistake our portrayal in TV shows, including its reality shows and the evening news, as indicative of the black race; overall, we would be reported as a race of buffoons and criminals lacking the qualities to exist in a race of intelligent beings. We know that’s not true. One sure way of changing that is to take ownership of the broadcast stations, shows, and media that depict our images. I am not against comedy, even a little crazy comedy, but when it becomes stereotypically against our race, I draw the line. It’s a bit much when their entire routine centers on sexual acts.

The Nielsen Company’s African-American Consumer 2013 reports the financial power of “African-American households has increased 20% since 2000 while aggregate income has increased 45%, meaning that Blacks’ income has grown 2.3 times faster than the number of Black households.” I interpret some of that decline in households to losing a large number of our young people, especially males, to prisons and early deaths. Nevertheless, the Aggregate income of blacks in 2013 was $696 Billion Dollars. That, my friends, is a lot of influence and pure GREEN POWER to weld in getting our agenda out there for legislative action. We could use demonstrations; withhold our purchasing power, to influence what we see on TV or the movies by taking ownership. We have some ownership but more is required. It all starts with us. Black Enterprise (online or hard copy) is an excellent magazine to gauge the progress of the black Entrepreneur.

While reading articles and listening to press releases from some of the most famous and influential people involved in show business, etc., one would get the feeling that the world is their oyster, and as long as their immediate family is taken care of… then all the “Other Stuff” is certainly no concern of theirs.

“Other Stuff” comes under the heading of poverty, black on black crime, high unemployment for young, middle age, and older blacks who need to work, the gap between suburban and inner-city educational tools and teachers, hate crimes, police brutality, and the ever-growing disparity between the rich and the middle class. These problems often spill over to becoming a statistic in the other aforementioned areas.

In the real world, we can tell them horror stories of shopping, driving, even applying for a home or business loan, or just walking in an upscale neighborhood “while black”. They should be concerned. If they knew like we know they should really be concerned. They cannot isolate themselves from the rest of society. The color of their skin dictates to some who they are before they open their mouth, wallet or purse.

In August of 1963, this nation was embroiled in “racial unrest and civil rights demonstrations” across the United States. Against President Kennedy’s wishes, who thought the march would harm the legislative process eventually supported the Civil Rights March on Washington DC.  The KKK and other hate groups hated the publicity it would garner for blacks.  Even Malcolm X was against the idea and saw Martin Luther King’s march on Washington for jobs and equality as a waste of time.  A lineup of stars that supported and participated (August 28, 1963 attended by 250,000 people) read like the who’s who of show business.  Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston (surprised? He of NRA fame), Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Marian Anderson, and Josephine Baker to name few. No one voiced their concern of any backlash from their fans, studios, record companies or any others backing their efforts to be actors, etc.  Who would step up to the plate today, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Will Smith, Michael Jordan? I don’t think so. There are plenty around who would, just not those I just mentioned.

Take the highly political issue of “The Haves and Haves Not” in relation to the gap between the rich and the middle class.  How many Americans have ever seen one political party band together so tightly with the Right Wing Fringes and Tea Party members while using a major TV Station to broadcast their one-sided versions of political issues caused by such viral hate for a President of the United States (POTUS)? A perfect example of the continuing attempt at placing blame like a slap “upside the head” was the interview of POTUS by Fox’s TV O’Reilly during the Super Bowl Pregame activities. His questioning continually tried to rehash old settled issues with the President Obama eventually saying, “These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them.”

The fact that we allow this attitude to prevail at the expense of the financial health of this country is mind-boggling to me.  I ask again, how many Americans, black white or whoever can say they have ever seen this type of behavior from our elected officials? That behavior within the last five years of some congressmen, senators, governors, mayor and other elected officials is unprecedented. I will also add that President Obama could have dealt with some issues differently which could have headed off some of the damage inflicted by these political cutthroats.

Having noted that, we must also realize our elected officials cannot do it alone. A large number of our senior citizens, and I include myself, were waiting for a leader who could act in our stead to take on the political right wing millionaires with deep pockets that continually try to steer general public opinion toward backing their specific personal goals of getting richer. There is no one single leader. I, again along with many of you have come to realize if we want something done, we are going to have to organize (Community organizing anyone?), write, protest, and even demonstrate if it comes to that in order to effect change. Let’s not forget to spend our money where it benefits us, not where we are not wanted.

That change must not only come from our civic authorities but the thugs and dealers in the street too. Somehow, someway, we have got to take our neighborhoods back from the riff-raff. The only ones we can count on to speak for us is ourselves. That is a powerful mantra to pass on and support during this Black History Month.  And your thoughts are…?

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

The N Word is not a Term of Endearment

Jarrett Mathis, Founder of Empowering Ourselves, Inc. wrote an in-depth article entitled “Black Music, The Mis-Managed Gift.”  The gist of the post, via Blogger Jessica Ann Mitchell’s, Our Legaci.com site, is the contradictions found in current music from successful artist. The number one issue, the message sent in current recordings versus, many of those released in prior years.

It’s conceded and noted in the J. Mathis post that Artist such as 50 Cent’s popular 200 song, “P.I.M.P.” and the currently popular YG’s “My Nigga” (Billboard magazine certified Gold single) are songs he says “wrongly promote actions that are illegal and deleterious to our community.” I agree with this concept 100 percent. I would ask my readers to read his article in order to get the full effect of the topic. The reason is I don’t want to rehash a lot of the points he covered although the subject matter in his and my article are identical.

Over the years I’ve written about this notion that some rappers believe they have to be viewed as tough, record explicit and profanity filled lyrics to maintain their “street cred” as if they are graded on a sliding scale by their peeps in the street. The problem is their paying audience; along with those over which they have the most influence are not street people. The segments of their fans in which we (critics, parents & the older members of society) are most concerned about our youngest, brightest, and most impressionable children.  How many times have you observed a four to five- year-old repeating rap lyrics they’ve heard and even acting out the performer’s body language on stage? What’s next, even younger ones wearing their Pampers low and hanging off their little butts?

Then there is their other claim, we (Hip-Hop recording artist) have made the word Nigger, ineffective as it was used in the past. “It now means a term of endearment”, so say many in the industry such as Jay Z, Russell Simmons, and Puffy. I think their opinions are self-serving. They are speaking to their industry’s choir.

The fact is you can pronounce or spell it anyway you like, for most black people it has a definite derogatory meaning that has not changed since the Emancipation Proclamation of slaves.

These so-called experts in the human language should ask those who fought for black folk rights and lived during the Civil Rights era. Ask those, who while watching TV’s National News, saw a major city’s inner city on fire from demonstrations or police confrontations that turned into riots. Ask those who marched with MLK. Exactly what did they think?  How about the white people who shouted out words and phrases as the marchers passed by? Do they think those were words of endearment?  They will find that the words were meant to describe a person whom they considered being less than human, a leech on US laws and goodwill society, a lazy good-for-nothing baby making daddy or welfare whore who actually didn’t know the identity of any of her six kids baby daddies.

They didn’t want any niggers living, going to school, eating, working, or socializing in any kind of way with white folk. And if you were a person of color this meant you. The truth is there are a lot of people, many of which are not living in the South, feel that way today.

For further proof, watch Fox news, parts of the Tea Party, some Democrats and a lot of Republicans.  Better yet, try and make sense of some of the complaints against President Obama.

Here is a thought, imagine if you will, a 16-year-old Blue Ivy, (Jay Z & Beyoncé’s daughter) or a 16-year-old North (Kanye West & Kim Kardashian’s daughter) sitting at the dinner table with their parents. You have a split screen viewer so you can see Beyoncé and family on one screen and Kim K with family eating dinner on the other.

Blue Ivy starts the conversation at her families table by saying, “Mommy this white boy in my class called me a nigger today and I didn’t know how to react. All the other kids were laughing at me, what should I have done? And then one of the boys started calling me bitches and ho’s. He said he was repeating words from one of daddy’s rap songs. Daddy, what does it all mean? Did you think mama was a ho and bitch too?”

Stretching your imagination further, picture a 16-year-old North repeating the same words at the Kanye West and Kim table. How do you think they are going to deal with those types of questions?  Make no mistake about it, that day will come around sooner or later. What kind of people will these girls grow up to be with those kinds of questions lob at them on a daily basis?

The point is that spoken words have consequences. It might be different consequences depending on how and from whom specific words are spoken and directed, but all words have consequences.  We will not even get into how the words are interpreted by the receiver. These are the same point critics are trying to get artist like Jay Z and Kanye to understand today.

If you can take words and put them in a brilliant song and direct them at specific people with the intention of making a person feel happy about themselves or their lover, an artist has worked magic with their songwriting and singing.

Back in the day, artist such as one of my favorite, Curtis Mayfield, did just that. One of his album’s “There Is No Place Like America Today” which spoke to the plight of black people in society at the time of the album’s release in 1975. The cut “Billy Jack” is a 6:07 rendition of a bar shooting that could be interpreted as happening today instead of back in the day. The love ballad “So In Love” is on this CD. His music was simplistic in delivery, raspy voice, and words demanded attention from a listener and were memorable as we went about their daily lives. If you bought any Curtis Mayfield music, you found songs that made you think (“If you had a choice of colors, which one would you choose, my brother?”), wonder (“When Seasons Change” –title track) and proud to be who you were. They gave you hope and comfort and chided the black race for acting in ways that were not constructive.

Even the famed Mayfield resurrected his career by recorded a not so mainstream popular album in 1972, entitled “Superfly”.  You’ve heard of the LP and film. Yet even in that LP, a number of the cuts, like “Freddie’s Dead” reminded us that the drug cultural was not conducive to the longevity of life itself.  Nevertheless, the N word was used repeatedly in the Album’s title cut and the movie. Was it a double standard move by Curtis? No, because he made it clear how he personally felt about the word.

Some may remember Chis Rock’s declaration in his cable stand-up “Bring the Pain” when he said, “I hate Niggers. I love black people, but I hate Niggers.” He went on to describe the type of person we, as people of color, can’t stand either.  Yet most of us have a few in our family and certainly as neighbors. Most Niggers have some of the traits and are acutely stereotypically true to the intention of the N word in the first place. Surprise! Surprise! It’s honestly not a racial thing with us, no one likes that type of person.  I find myself using that exact N word to describe some person of color who has committed some aggressive act on me or my family. I’m not proud of it but sometimes finding myself angrily saying it before I can control myself. I am trying not to use the word.

The overall question is simple.  Is the N word a term of endearment? I don’t think so, and we are all better off if we don’t use it at all. That way, our white, and black friends won’t be confused as to how we truly feel about that word.

You can read Mr. Jarrett Mathis article, which I shared from Ms. Jessica Ann Mitchell’s “Our Legacy.com” on my FaceBook Page at “Hamp’s Corner of America”.

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Footprints into 2014 and Beyond

I was to fulfill a promise I made to God in 2012. I don’t even remember what the almighty was supposed to do for me, probably because it was secondary to being baptized. The most significant part of this practice of moving closer to Jesus Christ was that after all these years; I felt the need to become one with God. So I was finally baptized on December 22, 2013 at our church, the First Baptist Church in Pittsburg, CA.

After the unsuccessful catholic faith indoctrination during my elementary and junior high school years, I took the plunge. As for the Catholics, their teachings and true faith practices did not add up, at least in my opinion. I just could not understand their preaching to help the underprivileged while asking for contributions from the same. Contributions which I viewed was spent on and displayed in the form as wealth by the priest, Cardinals, Pope and artifacts in the church building.  That show of affluence is more noticeable at mass and other religious ceremonies. The gold trimmed rich looking garments worn by the priest at mass. The use of the gold chalice and religious artifacts in the church seemed as though they were flaunting their wealth during my pre-teen and teenage years.

You better believe, I asked questions regarding those subjects as well as others only to be finally told as I was not accepting the answers given, to sit down and be quiet. Unfortunately, that was not the answer I was looking for. I remember I wanted so much to believe what I was being taught.  There were just too many contradictions creating doubt in my mind.

The only other religion I’d been drawn to was the Baptist. There were signs in certain circles of some of the same outward show of wealth donated by the congregation to the Baptist Church Head Pastor.

And don’t get me started on other faiths, individuals who professed to heal people by touching them as though it was a miracle from God. Or super churches such as TD Jakes and other famous preachers who make a living on TV and seem to be consumed with grandeur in outward appearance, church properties faithfully supported by an ever-growing congregation.

I just felt the God I believe in did not hold these types of organization as beacons of light to emulate much less follow in hopes of eternal salvation at his side. So I waited for the right time and some sort of sign from God. After all, he knows me and what is in my heart. And to be perfectly honest with you as I was with God, I was not ready to lead the quality of life I felt he wanted me to live. And no matter what, I was not about to lie to myself or God. After all, he knows what’s on my mind before I can make any sense of it.

So, I waited, and waited, and I waited until I wasn’t even sure what I was waiting for. Was it some sort of sign, did I say? Was the almighty supposed to come to me in the early morning hours or whenever and say, “Codis my son, its time”?

Somewhere along the line, I finally realize that this was a personal contract between me and God. It should happen when I am ready and only when I am ready. If you honestly think about it, God is ready anytime. I think he would ask are you ready?

Slowly over the years, I began to realize that those issues involving people taking advantage of other people in the name of religion did not actually concern me. Whether it was a preacher, well dressed Jehovah Witness knocking at my door, or a friend who just wanted me to attend, even join their church, none that mattered. By the way, everybody who professes to be saved, or a Christen is not. What truly mattered was I needed to have a personal relationship with God.

I can’t honestly tell you how many scrapes or times God himself have saved me or someone in my family from some kind or disaster.  I camped out in the Fast Lane of life from sixteen years of age, the day my father finally let me go around the corner from my house, well into my thirties. The point is, God is and was always there, whether I wanted him in my life or not.

You’ve no doubt heard “The Footprints Prayer”, if not let me break it down for you.

The Footprints Prayer

One night I had a dream… I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way; but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”       

That is a powerful statement. I can’t truthfully tell you the first time I saw that prayer. I do know that it was after I moved to California and saw it printed on some artifact like a throw blanket. In my mind, there is no better illustration of how my life had gone up to that point. That prayer spoke to directly to me.

While questioning the presence and word of Jesus Christ, one has to reason, you did not accomplish what you have, maneuver through trials and tribulations, suffer through the indignities, humiliations, sprinkled with the joys and happiness of life, yet still be standing proud or hanging in there without some higher beings assistance.

You did not meet your mate by happenstance, your children were not born just because you two made love.  Many of us did not wake up all of a sudden and put our lives on a different path to success without some overt yet subtle sign of divine intervention. This means if we are not paying attention, we could miss the sign. Do you feel me?

I am not trying to preach here, I am just stating the facts. No human is greater all by themselves than the higher being that put all human beings on this earth. For those who are still searching for the meaning of life, if you can grasp that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, your search has ending.

As for me, I just wanted to share my story with you. Yes, I finally got baptize, yet my service to God doesn’t stop there. I have never been one who pushes their beliefs on an acquaintance, so in that regard, I am still Hamp. Here is hoping that you and yours have a great New Year’s celebration followed by a prosperous and safe 2014. It promises to be exciting, so let’s embrace and enjoy it. That is my intention.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953

Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953. Over the last several Arkansas years, Gracie Hall-Hampton had become somewhat callous in manner. Friends, family,as well as foe, say dealing with her could be a difficult task.  Some say she’d gone from a sweet innocent young girl to a mean quick-tempered old woman. She always had her shotgun near, with a four-inch all-purpose pocket knife in the lone pocket of her trademark full-bodied specialty made housewives apron. I guess over the years, she felt the need to defend her family, property, or self could come at any moment. She just wanted to be ready. Grandma Gracie Pic Color Scan

One can understand how a single mother must be the rock in the family, especially in the rural areas of a segregated South. Given where she and her family lived, one can also understand why she had to be tough to fend for herself and those she loved. In some ways, she took on the personality of a frontier woman blazing a trail for others to follow.

Raising five children, after her husband died was a tough assignment. She had to be a teacher after school was out, a mother when one of own was physically or emotionally hurt, a strong, kind, or stern disciplinarian whenever a situation call for it. She had to provide the voice of wisdom and experience to young folks who thought they had the answers to all problems. But most of all, she had to be the protector of her family when it came to dealing with people, especially the local white folk.

She, maybe a little grudgingly, took on all those and other roles required at specific times. As time went on, she realized that she could not be hesitant in making decisions. She had to convince some by proving that she was neither weak nor reluctant to do whatever was necessary for her and family to survive. Those who dared to challenge her authority found they’d better arm themselves because it would be a fight to the death.

To some, she was a sweet old lady who made the best tea cakes and other sweet treats. She was just as enjoyable as she had to be to get her way. A testament of her character all depended on who were providing the information.  There was one common fact in all the conversations and inquires.  One did not cross this little five foot mother of five or there would be consequences.

For me, little Codis, a young wide-eyed five year old kid, she was just Grandma. I was sent south because my father and mother, who were still living in Milwaukee, were going through a separation period which finally ended in divorce. I stayed with my grandma and her youngest daughter almost a couple of years.

She maintained her gruff personality even after moving to Milwaukee. She told me the story of a visit to the county hospital-clinic.  She was there for a physical checkup but quickly became annoyed while taking the exam. She told me, “I told that doctor to stop poking me all over and he would not, so I chased him out of the room with my pocket knife.” As I recall, there were no charges, they simply told her she was in excellent health and could go back home now. I never did find out if she had the same doctor the following year.

Being brought up in the city, with all of its conveniences of indoor plumbing, electricity, modern medicine, yearly evolving personal and public transportation, along with public communication tools, i.e., Telegram and telephones, we took those things for granted.

Think about those who came before us in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s who were first introduced into this world by a midwife working under a kerosene lamp, using boiling well water and the determination of the expectant mother to deliver her baby as tools of the midwives trade.

I wrote this book so that my family and others could get to know Gracie Hall-Hampton, who was born in 1904 and died in 1985, eighty-one years later. I wanted my sons, daughter, and their sons or daughters to understand her. They should know how this five foot woman survived in a segregated South. Limited to an eighth grade education, living in the deep woods, nestled up to a tree line of timber, where black bears, wolves, coyotes and an occasional mountain lion roamed, see how she rose above the circumstances and survived. All while managing to raise five children in that environment, even after the death of her husband.

I wanted people to understand just who and where this little quiet woman, until somebody got her stirred up, came from. What motivated her to keep going? I hope that readers get an understanding of what it was like to live in a place where a black person could disappear never to be found again in Jim Crows back yard.

After finishing the book, while lying in the bed early one morning, I was thinking about what I tried to accomplish as a writer. I suddenly remembered how surreal I felt while proofing the section I wrote about the birth of my grandmothers first child, who happened to be my future father.  Thoughts of did I do it justice? Was I respectful enough to the moment? Was I detailed enough for a reader to feel how it could have been? My answer to those questions and others were I wrote what I felt as a Hampton. My family and you (the readers) will judge my effort as the book’s author.

I hope this book is read by all people, especially black people and others of color. African-Americans can compare the stories they’ve heard from their elders with those in this book and conclude; we come from a “family tree” of heroes who suffered in countless ways, survived and procreate, eventually paving the way for us to enjoy the freedom of being free from slavery in a country they helped to build. Yet, we should never forget that the struggle to remain free of racism is a never-ending job.  No other race of people has been mentally, physically challenged throughout their entire world history up through today, for simply being on earth as have black people. The closest that come to this type of degradation and stereotyping is the Jewish people during World War II. Keep in mind; I am not comparing this to the attempt at the extermination of the Jewish people by the Nazis.

As Americans, regardless of color, we have the chance and obligation to be the shining light that America is supposed to stand for. If we do that, this country will be truly recognized as the ideal society in which to make a life for you and our children.

Grandma Gracie had an abundance of common sense and loved her family. She always took the time to listen to me, as a kid and man, while offering advice where needed. I hope that she is at God’s side and are aware of this book’s publication dedicated in her memory. Love you, grandma.

 

This book is now on sale. You can order through my publishers, Author House, bookstore website at http://www.authorhouse.com , through online stores like Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble (bn.com). You can also call our Book Order Hotline, at 1-888-280-7715. You can order by title, ISBN number listed below or my name as the author.

 

Published by Author House 11/20/2013

ISBN: 978-1-4918-3113-7 (sc)= Soft Cover

ISBN: 978-1-4918-3112-0 (hc)= Hard Cover

ISBN: 978-1-4918-3111-3 (e) = E Book Format

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013919268

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Who really has a Slave Mentality

Note: This blog taken from the blogs home page of www.Katara-Rhythm.com, “Hamp’s Corner of America”.

My wife and I went to see the movie, “12 Years a Slave”. The film is directed by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, an outstanding British actor. The film is a based on a true story written by Solomon Northup, who actually lived through the ordeal of a freeman, kidnapped and thrown into slavery. Brad Pitt had a hand in its production and plays a small but effective part. Alfre Woodard appears and shines during her brief time. Michael K Williams plays a brief but another effective role. Remember the cry of “Here comes Omar” in “The Wire”?  He now plays Chalky White in HBO’s “Boardroom Empire”. The Outstanding film should be seen by anyone who likes a brilliant film and mandatory for those interested in black history.

While we were visiting, our friend’s son, in his early to middle thirties, commented “He is sick of slave movies, has seen Roots, and that was enough of a reminder for him. No, he didn’t want to see it.” I should add that he is twice divorced, raising his two teenage sons, all while living with his mother in her house. This is not a knock on him because I personally know he is doing the best he can at the moment. It’s his attitude about slavery I’ve found to be prevalent among many of his peers. That’s the type of misguided thinking that I question. It, like blame the white man for all our trouble, is just wrong and non-productive.  Some African-Americans take on these excuses like they are badges of honor, rather than taking ownership of who we are and make no apologies for it. They would be surprised at how various opportunities would be available if they could deal with the real question of who am I? In my view, it is the real slave mentality attitude at work

My readers have known me to write time and time again of the need for African-Americans to look at their ancestors when searching for their own identity. We should be eager get to know our grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Once they examine the personalities, good, or even dastardly deeds, they will find out who they are.

If you are one who is ashamed because your ancestors were dark-skinned, nappy hair slaves, then you have a problem. James Brown did not only release the “Say it loud, I’m Black, and I’m Proud” record to have a number one hit. He was trying to strike a balance between reality and all of the negativity depicted in movies and on the evening news back then as it is today.

I look at many of the 18-35 year olds, especially young black men from the street, and wonder about their odd way at looking at life. Some question rules of civility, repeat in raps and conversations on how rough they have it. They blame any and everybody for their predicament, and adhere to the mantra of just wanting to get paid for whatever effort they are putting out. They insist upon their right to be who they want to be in appearance, deeds and conversation.

In my twenties, I was right where some of them are, chasing all the wrong things. I was a perfect example of the age-old question, “Why is youth wasted on the young?” I knew better, but it was fun. I also felt I had time to turn it around. Today, our young people have no such time. Parents have to begin preparing their toddlers for the real world. Now it’s like, they, like other generations before them, think they have all the answers to the questions. Yes, we were rebellious, etc., etc. you name it.

Oftentimes, while I was living life in the fast lane, I would check on my grandmamma Gracie at her senior citizen apartment. I’d listen to her pearls of wisdom. I can’t tell you when her words began to penetrate my hyper street brain. I can say, after a few disappointing experiences, I began to reason that grandma was a wise old woman. Her life experiences were earned. Some of her beliefs were passed on from her parents and elders when she was younger. They were just as relevant then as it were in her day and even today.

She taught me that common sense is often more beneficial that a formal education. Of course if you have both, you are walking in some “tall cotton” she would say. Her words of warning were sorely needed, and finally caused me to slow down and take inventory of who I was, where I was, and where I was headed. The life I was trying to live was not me.

That’s why I wonder who these young folks are and why they can’t realize what it truly takes to succeed in this life. Every time I hear one say, I got to be me, I just want to be paid, or it’s all about them and nobody else. Or when I hear them talk or rap about the women in their lives with such disdain and disrespect it makes you wonder if they thoroughly understand their mother is a woman too. Many say without missing a beat, that’s just show business. They think a 4 to 5-year-old black child repeating an R rating rap is cute.

Those are the exact people who should see a film like “12 Years a Slave.” They are the precise people who need a change in attitude. They think they already have it all together but actually have no clue. Yeah, we were all young and crazy at one time or another.

With one notable exception, a foundation was instilled by our parents and elders that let us know as adults we are responsible for our appearance and behavior in public and private no matter what the circumstances. No one else is to blame. We learned to accept our role in making decisions. It was on us to make the correct decision or live with the consequences for the wrong ones. We also knew that almost every wrong move is correctable.

My wife and I, as did other parents our age, passed that information on to our children. Yet, the child must be receptive to what is being taught. Not to think of the generational factor involved. How many times have we heard that those individuals are from the entitlement generation? There are certain expectations by them that someone owes them something. Added to the equation is the Slave Mentality thought process.

My interpretation of a Slave Mentality is one who is caught up in a world of self-pity and doubt in their own capabilities. They’ve bought into the stereotypes perpetrated by racist, people in general, including some people of color. They lash out in anger without notice because they think they have no other recourse. They cannot seem to hold a decent conversation that has proven examples or statistics to back up their point of view. They cannot see the Forrest because of the trees.  Finally, they wonder why no one takes them seriously.

We know who they are; the question becomes how we get these people on board with real life. How do we get pass their illusions of expectation, feeling of drifting in a no mans land, lack of employable skills, false sense of street credibility, and misguided bravado of a thugs life? They need to spend all their time and energy on building a plan to take advantage of what is available and not harp so much on what is not provided. And by all means, the way they view women in general and their love ones in particular should be re-evaluated and called out for what it is, disrespectful of the same color women who gave birth to you

Patience, hard work, and taking it step by step should be the primary part of any plan to overcome their current status. Enrolling in adult school to get a GED, attending junior college on a part-time basis for general or specialized studies should be part of the plan.  Buy a computer and use it for something besides a gaming board and social network contact. Starting at the bottom is where everybody begins, even though every ones bottom rung is not the same. Where ever you have to start, there should be no shame in that temporary status. Expect there to be further disappointments but staying on course, having the support of family, friends and God will go a long way toward success. You have to be willing to put in the work. Don’t anything come to a sleeper but a dream.

They will learn as we all did, that as long as you stay focused and moving in the right direction, more voluntarily help is realized as people see that you are trying to make ends meet for you and your family. In other words, through the grace of God, somehow you succeed in a career of choice or labor of necessity. This is still a country of opportunity.

They can also look at their generational equals, Jay Z, Diddy, Queen Latifah who have made a successful transformation into the business world without losing their ethnic identities. There are others in the field of business that has succeeded such as record producer Jermaine Dupree. Buy a Black Enterprise magazine if you think black people are not legally successful in America. Surround yourself with positive thinking people, which can make a world of difference on a daily basis. There are numerous examples of what can be accomplished if you put in time and work. Presently youth is on your side.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Mr. President, About Obamacare…

(From Hamp’s Corner of America at www.Katara-Rhythm.com.)

Mr. President, I voted for you, twice. As a black man, I am appalled at how you and your family are treated by right-wing conservatives and others while you have served as the president of the United States. I haven’t agreed with all your policies. Yet, I’m satisfied that if your opponents in the previous elections had won? Let’s just say the middle class, poor and seniors would have no voice in today’s politics or a seat at the negotiating table when it came to protecting their rights.

Just so you know, I’m a fellow Leo, and a retired former manager in the Department of Defense procurement department. Following the general nature of a Leo, I know we have a tendency to expect a person do the job they were hired to perform. Sometimes we are surprised to learn, the person we selected, who happens to be qualified and fully understands the positions work processes, is not performing up to their capabilities. Not only that, they are actually lying to us and giving all kind of reasons why the job is not complete. Their only intention is to make them look fantastic and go blameless for a disastrous outcome. Does this sound familiar to you, Mr. President? Can you spell Kathleen Sebelius?

To her credit, I know she has said that you did not know anything about the problems with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) rollout on the website. In my opinion, you should have known. The Vice President, Press Secretary, and the White House IT (Internet Technician Department Head) expert should have known. In fact, Mrs. Obama should have known. That’s right, husbands; no matter who they are uses their wives as sounding boards. Presidents are no different as history has proven that to be a fact.

Given what you personally, and your administration, has gone through in the last five years with Republicans, including numerous moneyed individuals who hate that you are serving in the office of the presidency.  You and the aforementioned people should have been all over the progress, or lack of thereof from inception to the roll out.

There should have been in debt material of accomplishments and short-term failures with the website module providing by specific individual representatives from all phases of that enormous project on a monthly basis. You, or the Vice President, in your absence, along with the White House IT person should have been authorized to call a meeting, perform on-site inspections with online testing of how this site will work and integrate with whatever department that had a part in the process at a moment’s notice. There should have been checks and double checks on each person’s responsibility with the understanding that it was necessary for the success of the project as a whole. Those who did not go willing along with that intense oversight should not have been allowed to serve on the project. I believe, most would have understood if approached in the right way from the very beginning.

Everybody, who has visited a website, understands the difficulty that can come up when inputting information.  In spite of what some Republicans say, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other large sites have problems at peak ordering periods such as the Christmas buying season. Bill Gates of Microsoft can vouch for that. Come to think of it, in the beginning, I probably would have asked for his advice too.

I understand the government’s procurement process. Although, I’ve been away from it for years, the principles are still intact. Go out for three or more bids, select the contractor with the lowest bid and put in place a contract that will ensure that all projects, objectives, and milestones (POAM’s) will be met. The life saver here is that it doesn’t always have to be awarded to the lowest bidder. As long as the Government’s Procurement Agent is positive the winning contractor is able to meet the POAM’s. That would and should be documented justification for selecting someone other than the lowest bidder.

I suspect, there were problems here to. I truly hope the buying process was not contracting out. It should have been given to a seasoned Govt. Procurement Agent who understood the need to add one clause in the contract that would also have been mentioned in the solicitation. And that is, if the winning contractor does not deliver as directed or contracted, they will not be paid. Furthermore, they could be penalized if they have promised a product they cannot deliver.  This process, including the potential winning bidder should have been checked and examined by the Procurement Dept. with Mrs. Sebelius and the White House IT Representatives in that meeting and all subsequent meetings.

All should have agreed the winning contractor, has the capabilities and the contract itself will protect the Government. Because make no mistake about it, we in Government Procurement understood one primary responsibility extremely well. It is the American people’s money we were spending, not ours. Yet we must protect those funds as if they belonged to us. Those who do not adhere to that principle were not acceptable procurement agents and were not given favorable evaluations. They were provided additional or better training methods, or if required, disciplinary actions.

In my view, that is why I have a problem with the Government contracting out its procurement process. A private concern has one goal in mind, increasing profits. Most of time the thought of whose money (on Federal contracts) they are spending does not enter in the equation.  Their loyalty is to themselves, their bosses or no one. Edward Snowden, the outside contractor and NSA docs’ leaker are a perfect case in point. Those who make fun of or think that Govt. Procurement Departments are stupid, have no clue. They have never seen how thick and detailed a DFAR or FAR (Defense Federal Appropriations Regulations and Federal Appropriations Regulations which are Govt. Procurement regulations books) can be. Even in extreme emergencies or wartime, going against a regulation can be justified. But, that’s a subject for another time.

As for the Affordable Care Act, nothing should have been left to chance, because of three reasons. One, Obamacare is too critical of a program to let go by the wayside because of incompetence. Just like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, it has the potential to reach a wide variety of Americans in need. Two, your presidency and place in history are on the line. And finally, in expectation of the programs critics, it could have been a perfect roll out and they would still fight it. Why, because the rich man’s profits are being threatened. That is why there is an all-out fight to discredit it from people like the Koch Brothers. By the way, Google Koch Brothers Exposed, to see who they are.

Going forward, can this project be saved is the real question. With the contractors saying it’s the Governments fault, the blame game has started.  That’s another reason why terms and conditions of a contract are so vital.  Remember the POAM’s.  Plus given the publicity of a faulty or failing web site, along with a doubting consumer, can the AFC survive and begin to show significant progress at working by November 30th? I hope the President, now understands, there is no room for failure. I am still with you.

And while we are on the subject, Mr. Obama, fellow Leo and manager, I don’t care whom it is and what superstar capabilities they have to do the job they are selected to do. It’s still up to the man in charge to check and ensure they are performing as expected. Please remember that Mr. President. That is why they have checks and balances in Washington too. Now is that working? Not really, but that too is a story for another time. Let’s just fix the Obamacare website for now.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo

Subscribed to this blog at http://wp.me/p2IEXZ-3Z

 

My Business Associations,

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

 

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