Video

Displaced New Orleans Poet Sunni Patterson: I WIll Bring a Light to Every Injustice

Poet and performer Sunni Patterson gives another beautiful piece which sheds light to this country and land’s beyond façade.

We have not always found comfort in killers.
We have not always found solace being rocked
in the bosoms of those who silently pray
and openly destroy.
No, not always have we mistaken mimicry for mastery
or pretending for knowing
or enslavement for freedom.
But across my memory —-
across my memory marches millions -—
bold, regal, resilient, confident —-
unshackled feet stumping up spirits
to guide us through this fickle material world.
We like sun and moon folk,
universal souls praying our prayers,
singing our songs.
Eshu, Ogoun, Shango, Yemaja, Oshun, Obatala, Oya,
Damballah, Ayida Wedo, Loa, Nkongo, Olodumare and Yami.
We know all of you by name.
We are people of beginnings, of culture, of strength.
Not always have we given into the empty threats
and scare tactics of the powerless ones.
Not always have we allowed the blood of our sons and daughters
to color the streets while we’re walking asleep,
marching to the beat of that siren song.
They’re still wearing their sheets,
with nooses in reach,
showing their teeth and smiling, it seems.
But I hear in the breeze
in the rustle of the trees
and the dangling of the feet,
they say, please, don’t let them ever forget.
You see, not always have we suffered from amnesia.
Not always have we forgotten how to conjure up spirits,
ancestor wisdom,
fix up a mixture,
spiritual elixir,
ancient traditions.
We, like magicians,
god-like vision, we -—
we are people of sight.
So, no, not always have we fallen
for this okie doke
or inhaled the hazardous smoke of the manipulators
or been satisfied with crumbs for meals
our hands have prepared.
Hughes said life for us ain’t been no crystal stair,
but at least the steps are there
to push us up higher,
teach us how to go beyond the destroyer’s disguises,
look them in the eyes and be able to see.
Because what’s surprising when you know the nature of a beast
and especially when they’ve shown the same face for centuries?
So you tell me,
what’s the difference between two sisters in New Orleans
shot point-blank in the back of the head,
and two women bound in their car in Baghdad?
Or government-sanctioned killings in Kenya,
and a sister held hostage in a house in Virginia?
Or poverty in Haiti, poverty in Jamaica,
rape in Rwanda or rape in Somalia?
A sweatshop in China or one in Guatemala?
Or small pox and blankets, syphilis and Tuskegee,
formaldehyde and FEMA, ethnic cleansing and Katrina?
I recall within a speech Dr. King made us aware,
he said injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
So they can spare us their drama, huh?
We got the heart of them field working mamas.
We carry the torch of that ancestor fire.
So with every fiber that flutters in our being,
with every find that comes from our seeking,
with every hearing that comes from our listening,
and every sight that comes from our seeing,
we must be faithful, strategic, victorious and free.

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Video

“A Peace Warrior”: Poet, Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Remembered by Sonia Sanchez

On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers – desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree I am yours – your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/29/a_peace_warrior_poet_civil_rights

Video

Gil Scott Heron – Blue Collar

An activist, musician and poet.

Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949) is an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron’s recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. On his influence, Allmusic wrote “Scott-Heron’s unique proto-rap style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists”.

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Skye Townsend – True Beauty

Skye Townsend - True Beauty

Eighteen years ago, on September 1st, Skye Townsend was introduced to the world. At only three years old, she declared to her parents that she would be an entertainer and refused to be anything less than a star. Shortly after discovering her passion for music, she began writing songs as a hobby. As a child, she discovered that songwriting was not just an activity to pass time but also an emotional and expressive outlet. Not only did Skye display talent in performing arts but also displayed interest in visual arts (painting, drawing, applying makeup and photography).

At thirteen years old, Skye began posting videos of herself singing several of her favorite artists’ songs on Youtube. Little did she know, Youtube was going to be the start of her career. Being the daughter of comedian/director Robert Townsend, Skye automatically fell in love with comedy as well as improv as a child. Along with her singing videos, Skye began posting impersonations and funny skits on her profile which garnered millions of views collectively over the years.

As Skye began approaching her later teen years, she found music to be her main focus and first true love. She made it very clear to her parents that she wanted to find her own way and really be exposed to hardships that new talent comes across in order to really develop her artistry. By the age of 18, Skye had worked with more than half of her favorite musicians/producers while still remaining an unsigned independent artist. Some of the credits include: Eric Hudson, Warryn Campbell, Soundz, Organized Noize, Rock City, Mike Ciro, Omen, JM Beatz, Team Tuma and Boola. Skye brings an old school feel with her unique tone and intensely honest lyrics. The bilingual artist enjoys playing with worldly sounds and finding new ways to connect to people lyrically. She says:

“I want to be unforgettable. I want people to see a photo of me years down the line and really remember how passionate I was about the arts. I am not just a singer nor am I just an actress. I am an artist. I also aspire to be a humanitarian. There are so many diseases, illnesses and issues in the world that can be avoided or terminated if people simply take the time to educate themselves. I always say that there’s a difference between talking and speaking as well as listening and hearing. When I open my mouth, I want to speak and be heard.” -S.T.

http://skyetownsend.com

I first found out about Skye Townsend on Instagram, and I instantly wanted to follow her. She gives off a natural sweet soulful feel. She is beautiful and when I learned of who her father was, she became that much more intriguing.

She’s got a style out of this world, she can sing her butt off (My personal fav’s FREE, AK-47 and Eagle), she can write, personality and beauty. This is a young woman who should be the type of inspiration our young girls attempt to achieve. She’s not the cliche ‘Bad Bitch’ too many of our young black girls are following these days. Classy, sexy, smart, true talent is hard to find these days. Mainstream shows flood TV sets where there is more and more women downgrading themselves in order to be in front of the camera. Keep your pride Black Woman and stay true a higher being. Self filled with gratitude to the hardships of those who made it possible for your body and mind to be free.

Be sure to follow this Queen on Instagram @skyetownsend

Waiting for her music to be on iTunes > Hurry up Skye so I can download and play play play on my laptop!