Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

18Jun/150

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky – On the Tavis Smiley Show; Racism, American Exceptionalism & White Supremacy

From the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS (April 15, 2015)...

One of our nation’s most renowned intellectuals discusses how the seemingly harmless elements of our socialization — from our language, to the way we draw our maps — in fact promote one world view over another.

20Jul/140

Attorney-activist Bryan Stevenson & the Movement to End Mass Incarceration – On the Tavis Smiley Show

Bryan Stevenson appeared on the Tavis Smiley show this past week, discussing the continuing - and growing - movement to undo this nation's still-out-of-control prison state. What's most clear is that the current reality is unsustainable. While many of us are clear that this nation's criminal justice policies and practices are largely morally bankrupt, a growing number of legislators at least recognize that these policies make little to no financial sense.

One way or another, we have to keep pushing legislators and other policymakers to more aggressively undo these unjust policies.

The Harvard-trained lawyer, who’s won exonerations for death row inmates, examines the issue of excessive sentencing.  --  Founder and executive director of the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative—a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners—Bryan Stevenson gained national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system. He's a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government and has argued five times before the U.S. Supreme Court. The recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant, he's on the faculty of New York University School of Law and has written extensively on criminal justice, capital punishment and civil rights issues.

 

20Jun/140

Ruby Dee Tribute

Remembering...

Ruby Dee
October 27, 1922 - June 11, 2014

Activist, Change Agent, Actress, Poet, Playwright

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee, on life and career.  From The Tavis Smiley Show...

In a career that spanned more than 70 years, Ruby Dee continuously made her mark. She was the first Black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival and won numerous awards and honors for her work, including a best supporting actress Oscar nod and a SAG Award (at age 83, for her performance in the hit film, American Gangster) an Emmy and a Grammy. She's perhaps best known for her performance in the 1961 film, A Raisin in the Sun—a role she reprised from her Broadway turn in 1959—and frequently performed with her late husband, fellow actor-activist Ossie Davis. Not one to be slowed down by age, she narrated the 2013 Lifetime original movie, Betty and Coretta, and, at age 91, was working on the still-in-production crime drama, King Dog, with Ice-T.

She was also known for her longtime work in the civil rights movement and was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

A breast cancer survivor of more than 30 years, the legendary actress, playwright, screenwriter and poet leaves behind an enduring legacy.

13Feb/140

Singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo: A Really Great Interview

Here's a really great interview of Angelique Kidjo, who appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on January 31st.  I find some of Tavis' interviews difficult to watch, precisely because he appears to try so hard to be an expert on everyone and their story.  In this interview, though, Tavis kept his commentary and interruptions to a minimum (relatively), which allowed Angelique Kidjo to speak far more fully and freely about her experiences and perspective.

I love her music, and more generally her insight and perspective about life and African women.  Absolutely beautiful spirit.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Here are some of the major themes...

  • Celebration of the beauty and power of African women
  • Life of integrity, and on our own terms
  • Being proud; challenges don't define us; Our response does
  • Colonialism and the division of African people
  • European rape of Africa's natural resources
  • Honoring her gift of music
  • All music is African music; the roots don't lie
  • Critical importance of self-determination & self-definition
  • Our identity is ours to declare; no one defines us but us

The world music artist explains how her expansive career is marked as much by her musical achievement as by her passionate advocacy for her Africa homeland.

7Oct/130

Love’s Power Lives On: Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit”

I was initially introduced to Gregory Porter back in early 2012, shortly after he released Be Good.  As much as I loved his second album, I loved the first album, Water, just as much.  When I learned of his newest project a couple of weeks ago (Liquid Spirit), I wondered how it would be.  Let me just say it's my favorite album at the moment, and I've been listening nonstop.  And more than a faith in romance it seems to be trying to reignite, the spirit and soul of the album really pulls me right back to my years growing up in Detroit, with the love and comfort of family all around.  The power of love is very strong, and it definitely lives on.

If you haven't listened to this project yet, you've got to do so soon.  Please share with me what you think when you do.  Here are my favorite tracks right now (although they can change at any moment)...

  • No Love Dying
  • Liquid Spirit (title track)
  • Water Under Bridges
  • Musical Genocide
  • Brown Grass
  • Wind Song
  • The "In" Crowd
  • Movin'
  • When Love Was King
  • Time Is Ticking

Below are a few video clips of Gregory Porter performing, as well as sharing more insight about his general approach to music, and particularly his newest project, Liquid Spirit.

The first is a clip of Gregory Porter from last Thursday, appearing on the Tavis Smiley Show.  While Tavis is in typical form, consistently using himself as a reference point throughout the interview, we still get a great glimpse into Porter's influences, as well as the fundamental ideas and perspectives about life he pours into his music.

The next clip features Gregory Porter performing with The Robert Glasper Project at North Sea Jazz 2013.  I absolutely love Robert Glasper's work, and this pairing is absolutely wonderful.  Two of the great musical exemplars around today, and they flow so smoothly and effortlessly together.  I love this, and would love to see them together live.

The final clip is the music video for the title track of Porter's newest project, Liquid Spirit.

I hope you enjoy...