« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 31, 2006

Have You Seen This Video?

Immortal Technique. If you you haven't heard of him, maybe you should expand what you're reading and what you're listening to. Listen here.

What do you think?

At a time when the "hip-hop generation" lacks leadership, the Black Panther party isn't moving masses, my students have never heard of the Brown Berets, the Puerto Rican organizations operate too similarly to "gangs", and the only mass organization is gangs, do you think a rapper could really influence (not to buy bling, but to get informed) and potentially act (politically)? The last hopes (Def & Kweli) were last seen at the Field Museum in Chicago shouting, "I'm not a role model, I'm a rapper."

We need something.

If You're In London Next Week...


Nobody Knows My Name is screening in London for this magazine:


You can view a clip here, on my website.

Here's your official invite:


More info on their website: www.bfmmedia.com

Teaching with Technology (yes, I'm excited!)

I've learned a new teaching tool - Breeze Presenter. While I'm bummed that the ppt architecture for a mac doesn't allow for presenter, I bit the bullet and learned how to do it anyway. It's really easy - just create a ppt and using the Breeze plug-in, record audio, synch animations, add some details and viewer control settings & publish it the U server.

I created my first presentation, an exercise called "What Do You See?", which gets students to look at images critically, and it's up and ready to go! I may present it myself (projected) so the students get familiar with the delivery interface (because this may be the lecture delivery method during labor/delivery/recovery weeks in 60 or so days). I find students engage much more with technology when they see your comfort level and ease of use.


In this exercise I use lots of David LaChappelle images (I've shared some of them here before), some Mathew Rolston, and a bunch from Girl Culture (a great book to use in WoSt courses about women's/girl's lives). One of my favorites (that gets people talking):


Well, the term starts in a few days (and I'm actually all prepped and ready!) and I'm off for a family gathering.

August 29, 2006

Of course it's "Urban"...

Catching up on links on feministing this a.m., couldn't stop laughing (you know that guilty wtf laugh?) at the post about new vocab word - vaginomite. Read here.

This is from the Urban Dictionary, where "YOU DEFINE YOUR WORLD". I would have once thought this great, but now I'm just tired of it. So many offensive terms, so much rap'propriation, so many misunderstandings.


Since I've been writing and revising an encyclopedia entry on gender/gender roles in rap music, I've gotten fascinated by this site of derogatory slang. Check out my tried & true "favorite", chicken:


It's a food, a woman, a woman's body, a woman's body part. So much packed into one word. Sigh.

I wrote an entry on "Hip Hop Terms for Women" for this encyclopedia & included the many forms of chicken (i.e. chickenhead, chickenhawk...) a few years back. It's a great resource for Women's Studies courses. Expensive to buy, but great resource.

August 25, 2006

You Tube At It's Best


Watch the clip of I Was A Teenage Feminist

There are also some other great short clips - interviews on the street.

My favorite: "Feminism Survey: Men on the Street"
Times Square, NY - A woman and her husband.
Interviewer: Would you ever identify as feminist?
Woman: A feminist to me, I guess, would be a woman who believes in women's rights, I guess.
Interviewer: But you wouldn't identy yourself as one?
Woman: No.
Her husband: The bible is very clear that men are the head of a household.

The world is still such a scary place. We have a lot of work to do.

August 23, 2006

No More Women's Studies (WoSt)

Thanks to the Moodle lady, Elena, I realized that my course (WoSt 3307) disappeared today. Apparently, the Department name change (which was discussed many, many moons ago) went into effect today. All the courses listed for WoSt in onestop were gone. All it says is "no courses this term".

Luckily a colleague called me today to tell me that Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) is now listed, and our course designators now change.

So my last post must be revised.


Here's updated PDF for my new course - GWSS 3307.

Fall Prep

I've finished my syllabus for Fall! My readings are all scanned, cleared for use (don't u love copyright?), and are being xeroxed. I'm teaching Feminist Film Studies, with more of a media studies/new media twist. You can take a peak here.

I'm using lots of technology: blogs, vlogs, wikis, moodle, vista, maybe breeze and students can make movies in the FMC!

I've got spaces for 80 students (currently I'm at 60 or so), so I've made a flyer that I'll post around campus.


You could download this PDF and hang up for me!

August 21, 2006

Erase Racism Carnival

Rachel's Tavern is hosting the 4th Erase Racism Carnival.

Here's a little taste:
Deconstructing Media

1. Carmen at Mixed Media Watch reviews portrayals of African Americans in Viacom’s programming. Here’s a quote:

Viacom, the parent company that owns MTV, VH1, BET and many other media holdings, is doing a piss-poor job when it comes to media representations of black men and women. Judging by what we’ve seen over the last few weeks, Viacom seems pretty enthusiastic about furthering stereotypes of black men as inherently criminal and violent, and black women as sub-human, oversexed beasts.

Check it out!

There have been a bunch of great posts on Snoop, oh Snoop:

Black women on a Leash
Stereo Propaganda

also check out the brown-eyed girl.

August 20, 2006

Found Footage

I was cleaning my HDs (I have thousands of gigs) and found that Tiana plays with my webcam.

(Press play to start the video clip.)

Tech Tip: for you budding vloggers, here's a nifty way to get embedded video code:
Just answer a few quick questions and they give you the code. Gotta love it!

August 19, 2006

Fun with Clairol.com

sometimes i scare myself.


have some fun too.

+ + +

what's even scarier is what my hair actually looks like sometimes, watch this:


August 18, 2006

Celebrate Twin Cities Hip Hop

Fresh off the phone with my girl Invincible, one of my favorite members of the all-female Anomalies crew. She was 6 hours away, headed this way, with a van full of youth she mentors in Detroit. She is slated to perform at this year's Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop on Sunday.

With: Sims and Mictlan, Black Blondie, Maria Isa, Leroy Smokes (today); Brother Ali, Truth Maze, Golden (Sat.); MC Lyte and the Chosen Few (Sun.), with DJ and dance battles and lots more.
When/where: 5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls.
Tickets: $7 tonight, $13 Sat., $13 Sun., $22 for Sat.-Sun. pass. 612-338-8388 or 651-989-5151.
Also: Free outdoor events 4-7 p.m. Sat.-Sun. on 8th St. between Hennepin and 1st Avs.
Web: www.yothemovement.org

Full Schedule Here

And much love goes out to Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune, for setting the record straight in today's paper:

KQ's off-base comments: Bad rap for the good guys
Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune

Usually an outpouring of positive vibes and do-gooder attitude, the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop lands this weekend with gritted teeth and crossed arms. And you probably won't believe me when I tell you who's to blame.
Read on...

To listen to the radio show: Go to Part 2 on August 4th at the 53rd Minute

+ + +

Update: The response to the article has been so strong they now have a blog open for comments. comment here!

August 14, 2006

Belly Blogging

many people keep asking about me & my belly, so here it is--


August 11, 2006

Friday Poetry Blogging - Live from Minnesota Correctional Facility, Stillwater


Listen to his poem "Niggas Is Genocide":

quicktime audio file
mp3 file
or video clip of performance 14mb file or 27mb file

recorded in 2005 as part of the Stillwater Poetry Group (SPG)

Ja'far is currently seeking a professor or teacher who would be willing to volunteer to facilitate a group of offenders (I hate that word!) inside Stillwater. The group is interested in poetry, Black history, African culture, and/or Egypt. If you are interested or know someone who is, you can hit me up and I can forward you a packet he sent me or you can contact Ja'far directly at:

Ja'far-Rahotep c/o Ben Archie Braylock
MCF Stillwater
970 Pickett St N
Bayport, MN 55003

August 10, 2006

BitchPhd on Plan B

Bitch Phd, one of my favorite blogs and one I read daily, has launced an awareness campaign about Plan B.

She is selling t-shirts in 2 designs:


Buy one or two!

Teaching & Learning Online

I'm interested in connecting with folks who have taught or taken Women's Studies or similar courses online. What was your experience? What worked for your teaching? Learning? What suggestions would you offer to make the course work better for you?

I'm currently developing an online course for Intro to Women's Studies course that will go live next Spring. I want to include media, pop culture, and TV/film/video watching because it often helps visual learners (like me), see theory in practice.

I have lots of feminist theory, scholarly and popular press reading and many online links, but I know I'm building this course on my small WoSt classroom pedagogy. I feel like I need to read a bit more about online pedagogy and what works for independent learners.

Any suggestions???

So Many Things on My Mind...

Tiana is still in Cali visiting her family. With all the new terror alerts and LAX drama, her Grandma and I are very nervous. There's tighter security at LAX but I'm still worried. She's supposed to fly home tomorrow. Her bday party is on Sunday and Monday she's supposed to off to horse camp. Do I have her get on that plane alone tomorrow (she has an unaccompanied minor ticket)? Should she stay in LA longer? Do I out there to go get her? Do I ask her Dad to find a way to fly with her back home? This is overwhelming.

August 9, 2006

MSP: Solidarity for Northside Blues


Please come to help make this an unforgettable show of solidarity and protest against the continuing violence on the Northside

* + * * + * * + * * + * * + * * + * * + * * + *

Please note that since this was written, just over a week ago, we are now at 41 murders in Minneapolis.


There have been over 35 murders in the city of Minneapolis since January 1st, 2006. Over half of which have been in North Minneapolis alone, three, on the corner of Broadway and Dupont.

Lets Do Something.

Silent Protest
August 12th, 2006 at 2:45p

· Meet on the corner of W. Broadway and Dupont dressed in all black
· Be prepared to stand in unison with other artists , activists, and community members for one hour (from 3p to 4p) in complete silence, while honoring those who have lost or those who have been lost due to violence in the neighborhood and also protesting any further acts of violence
· We will meet for fifteen minutes (2:45- 3p) to spread ourselves amongst the four corners, North, South, East, and West (Knowledge, Power, Wisdom, and Overstanding).

· This Is An Event For And By The People
· We Are Not Looking For Media Attention
· Forward Information To Any And All People You Feel NEED To Be Present

The community needs and thanks you.

Peace & Love

Latisha "Tish" Jones
Executive & Artistic Director

* + * * + * * + * * + * * + * * + *

I don't watch the news. I listen to MPR. I don't WATCH TV NEWs though, unless it's focused on global or national events. These local reports depress me.
So. Tonight. I am clicking the channel to find something as I wind down, and happen to hear the words "Arrest of a 20 year old in the murder of a North Minneapolis Pizza Delivery boy."

Next thing I know: a photo of Toua Xiong, the most sweet, innocent boy I may have ever taught, is being flashed up on the screen. He was the Pizza Hut delivery person killed on Sunday night.

And my god! This is the second former student murdered --in what? A month? That I knew!! That is dead. Innocent young person. Marcus White. Now Toua Xiong.

(And breathing is hard, you know.....? )

This kid was so quiet. So sweet. Mid-height. Thin. So thin. So squeaky, squirmy, sitting next to this pack of Hmong boys in the back of my classroom with all their notebooks filled with car drawings, he was always drawing pictures and asking questions....Quiet questions. Needing to be near my elbow when he asked them. ....When we were doing that Midsummer Night's Dream Unit, he played Mustardseed, or some such precious, few-lined character...And to ensure he got a good grade, submitted all of these drawings of the characters as he had envisioned them....

And then when I lead the Teen Group at St. Phillips - he delivered our pizza one random Monday night..I remember this whole awkward struggle I had leaving him a tip....(I didn't add right, and he returned to the church basement to have me recalculate the amount I'd written in...I was so embarrassed...)

And now he's dead.

I just ask for your thoughts. Prayers...We need peace. We need to be in relationship...
I suppose I need to ask some question...But I'm tired..And so angry.....And so sad...

So: please pose them out there....and have kind thoughts.....And hold this......It's not okay to have this happen....
In peace, prayers, sorrrow....

Melissa Borgman

The Many Uses of MySpace

My girls used to get mad at me for not having a myspace. I got one ages ago and rarely logged on, so then I got flack for that. Des would tell me about all the people exposed to her music, the CD sales, the bookings... great, but I'm not an artist trying to sell my art. MJ would talk about all the people she would connect with from old friends to hip hop fam around the world, but I can barely keep contact with my immediate circle. Still, I kept adding friends, replying to messages, posting a few comments, and put a couple photos up. Once in a while I connect with some friend (from real not online life) and it would be cool. I do continually get the yo shorty, u fly messages, which i promptly delete. But, lately I find I am a very happy myspace member (one of 53 million I hear).

For my women in hip hop circles it has been a great way to connect, share work (music, photos, art), and publicize events. I find that artists who rap, write, poetry, dance, paint and perform, like to do just that. They don't want to spend hours of time maintaining a website or don't have he money to pay for a host, or a web designer, or just aren't interested in any more hassle than life already holds. But, most if not all of these artists have myspace pages. The pages are form entry filled and give you a basic design but many of these ladies have ventured out to the myspace page designers that customize the look, spit out the code which gets copied and pasted in the myspace forms. Easy!

Now I find I also have new answers to students and folks who ask me "Where do I hear women rappers? Where can I buy Invincible's indie ep? How do I know about female rappers who aren't on BET?..." I find I just direct them to my blog which links directly to these ladies myspace sites (sidebar links). I also compiled links on my homepage that directs visitors to this site as well.

Most recently, an old friend from my hometown *Middletown, NY!* hit me up on myspace. I hadn't spoken his name in years but have often thought back to my first "date" to the Orange Plaza (a suburban mall that had been replaced by a massive galleria but I saw here that its' been redeveloped). He wasn't my date, he was the unofficial date of my bets friend Jen, who I forced to come along. He and my first "boyfriend", the first boy I kissed, in like 4th or 5th grade. Oh goodness, I just realized my daughter is going into forth. I'll always chaperone trips to the mall. So I guess he found me randomly through my myspace page. How? Maybe searching Middletown, who knows. So I found an old picture of him and posted it on his comments. I loved to take pictures even back then:

the boys in the yard, Chorley Elementary school, May 1984

... and as I write my myspace praises this hits my myspace inbox:

Hello, I was just going through your profile and your picture got blood jumping around in my veins like a ball on a roller coaster...

and this is why I still hate my myspace too.

Seeking Films by Black Students

Tony Bingham in Burkina Faso

According to a Code Z News Article:University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Tony Bingham is taking a learn-by-doing approach to teaching African American film history to his students. Part of his "Black Image: Screen and Television" class for the spring 2007 semester will have students make their own documentaries using local history and personal interviews as a foundation.

To help his students get over the hump of first-time film production, Professor Bingham is seeking to acquire documentary films made by other black film students from around the world. He hopes the peer-to-peer approach will prove less daunting for his students than concentrating only on works by established filmmakers.

Bingham hopes to receive 20 to 30 student films for his students to consider. Although the class will focus on films that explore community history, a broad range of subjects is needed to explore all the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking.

"I like the idea of observing how visual ideas are being worked out all across the land by African American film students, " says Bingham. "This generation is the first to comfortably embrace video production and documentary production as a means of personal expression."

Professor Tony Bingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
African American Studies
1055 Bldg Room 102
1530 3rd Ave S.
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-4480
205-939-3713 home

August 8, 2006

On Bodies, Babies and Why Doctors Aren't My Favorite

Last weekend honey and I went to the Science Museum. It's an impressive (and expensive) complex that we've visited before. It's bright (lots of windows, glass walls and natural lighting) and very loud (tons of kids moving in every direction). My daughter loves it there but she's away in LA and I wasn't sure if I wanted to subject her to Body Worlds.

The BODY WORLDS exhibitions are a towering achievement in the field of anatomical science, and an unprecedented gaze at humanity in all its glory and vulnerability.
Read on...

Have you seen this traveling exhibit?

Here's a taste:

The Skateboarder
 Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com

Yes, they are real bodies that people donated to this scientist. He has an interesting and extensive bio (was imprisoned in Germany for two years), developed this plastination process that permanently poses and preserves that bodies, and is currently "designing the first anatomy curriculum in the United States that will use plastinated specimens in lieu of dissection".

It's a tremendously popular expo. We had to buy tickets weeks in advance. Still, there were massive lines and crowds (definitely not honey's favorite). In the main room I felt a strange sense of horror. I was disgusted, intrigued and horrified in the same instant. I tried to look closely and get the scientific value of the project.

I was able to gain some composure by sliding m&ms, from the trailmix in my purse, into my mouth. I looked at the lung specimens. See all you smokers, this is what you are looking like inside (yuck!!!):

Heart and lung specimen of a smoker
 Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com

Heart and lung specimen of a non-smoker
 Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com

But overall I was torn. Does science need this? Does the public want this? Is this for science or gruesome fascination or both?

Toward the back of the exhibit there was a room with a tremendous line. Honey jumped to the side and shook his head no way and went on to the next room. My curiousity kept me in line. I can't remember exactly what the sign read, but it was about pregnancy, fetuses and that the 8 month pregnant body of woman and child died and donated their bodies.

Having just lost one baby (who I still carry in utero while his brother readies for this world), I wasn't sure how I'd react to see plastinated babies and fetuses in jars. I knew that it couldn't be any worse that the anti-abortion crazies at all the rallies I've been to (they love to blow up awful photos and throw nasty bloody meat at activists like me). Still, turning the corner I was admittedly nervous.

The first display was glass boxes housing very peaceful looking babies - 12 weeks, 15 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks. Our son was about 22 weeks when he passed. I stared at this little thing. It looked like a baby. It didn't look like the alien-like blob on the ultrasound screen but a small child-like baby. Instead of making me sad, I somehow felt more peaceful seeing that baby display looking peacefully dead.

The most popular display in the room was the 8 month pregnant mom. I could hardly look at her face (well it's bone, muscle and fake-looking eyeballs but little skin) but I couldn't stop peering into her belly. All of her organs pressed up high above the placenta. I know that feeling for sure! It gets harder to breath every day in fact. The baby was in the head down position, very close to her cervix and pressing perfectly on her bladder. The museum employee saw my hard stares and began telling details of the display. "I believe the mother was dead nearly 6 hours before she was found. A baby can live about an hour off of the mother's body but beyond that, she was unable to live..."

I rejoined honey and we made our way out of the museum. I was happy to be out of there.

August 7, 2006

Sending Luv to Josh Wolf

Just sent a quick postcard from Northland Poster Collective to Josh Wolf.

He is an independent journalist and blogger. For refusing to testify and turn over unpublished material to a Federal Grand Jury investigating a July, 2005, anti-G8 demonstration Josh has been held in contempt of court and jailed on August 1st. Josh is presently in federal prison. Check this wiki to keep you up to date on Josh's case.

Here's a video clip Josh put together about the case:

Send letters of support to him directly at:
FCI DUBLIN (underscore Dublin) Unit J2,
DUBLIN, CA 94568

RULES on Federal Prison Mail HERE

August 6, 2006

Movies, mullets and more!

I bit the bullet and joined Blockbuster online. I was trying so hard to support a local video store but $4 movies (they stock mostly all Hollywood, "major" indies and hardly any docs) wore its course. I was a Netflix member but started having shipping prblms and they seem pretty corporate now (partnered with major corps). Blockbuster offers 1 free in-store rental per week (which works well for honey's Friday night new release movie nights). Plus, I
got a rent in-store for $1.99 through August. It's hard to beat corporate offers.

My recent rents:

American Mullet:
THE hairdo for country westernn fans, 80's rock band fans, bikers, mexicans from yucatan, soccer players, lesbians and more! Really funny and loving. Go Jen Arnold! I LOVE to see people I went to school making movies! She is the lady getting the mullet over the end credits. Awesome!

North Country
I am thinking of showing this film in my Fall course. It's not the greatest cinematic feat but good for my students. It's a Hollywood film, directed by a woman (I loved Whale Rider), is on a very WoStie topic (WoStie = Women's Studies designator WoSt --> my adjective for anything to do with the discipline), and takes place in Northern Minnesota, where many of my students are from. The DVD also has interviews with the real woman from the court case, I love bonus features!

The Joy of Life
16mm images of San Fran, transman voiceover about relationships, life, and suicide. Really interesting mix of doc and experimental film. Maybe will show a clip for class. Students rarely have seen anything experimental.

The director, Jenni Olson, explains it better as "an unconventional blending of documentary and experimental narrative strategies, combining stunning 16mm landscape cinematography with a bold, lyrical voiceover (performed by L.A.-based artist/actor Harriet 'Harry' Dodge) to share two San Francisco stories: the history of the Golden Gate Bridge as 'suicide landmark,' and the story of a butch dyke in San Francisco searching for love and self-discovery. The Joy of Life is a film about landscapes, both physical and emotional."

Next in my cue:

Always A Bridesmaid, Boys Don't Cry, 30 Days Season 1. I will update as I view.

Just read article "No Such Thing As An Old Girl's Network" about gender disparity and directing in Hollywood. No surprise, but might be good for course pack add.

In theaters, I want to see:

Little Miss Sushine

Next, I want to read:

It's getting pretty good reviews. I am thinking of embarking on a similar book project - I love books that allow women to tell their own stories. Would love to do with a companion DVD. Dissertation project maybe??!??

August 3, 2006

... and still more reasons to blog/vlog

I love comments, I do! Since I haven't been blogging regularly during the summer I haven't gotten many but today's made me happy.

The UThink man, who has a great blog himself, left me a comment on my orig why blog/vlog post - he's linking to it for something he's working on & the uploads have been upped to 30mb!

I'm going to have lots of audio/video fun!

& on the "freedom" note, it looks like the U does allow for student responsibility for their blogs. Read the MN Daily article.

I also was reading around and found this study on blogging. A report called "Bloggers: a portrait of the new internet storytellers" done by the Pew Internet/American Life Project. It's an interesing read.

Why Blog? Why Vlog?

I have a lot of friends and colleagues who still look at me strangely when I get so excited about blogging and vlogging. They don't get it. Why? Isn't it just more work? Why don't you just spend that time on your real work?

There are many reasons I love to blog, here are I few:

1. It loosens me creatively. You know how teachers always had you free-write before writing the "real" assignment just to get the cobwebs loose and free you up to think. I blog and the writing just gets me thinking.

2. It's a great way to update my circles of fam, friends, women in hip hop on my life, thoughts, ideas. Often they post comments or links back to something they are doing and it just helps strengthen my community.

3. I can keep track of articles, new items, images, and films I've seen. The ultimate archive that can be changed, altered and updated. The categories allow for infinite topics - women in hip hop, film, personal diary documentary videos, and on. If only I could keep things so neat in my overflowing file cabinet.

4. It's really easy to update. I have a website that sat up for a year before I put a basic page on. Time is so hard to find. I can blog anything and everything (like new material, photos, links, appearances) quick, easy and from anywhere with internet access.

5. It's free. Since I'm at the U of M and UThink blogs are big (as of today the UThink Stats are: Blogs: 2729, Entries: 40012, Comments: 41227, Authors: 6179). Right now we have 10mb uploads (tho I have insider connects if I just have to get something bigger up) and unlimited space. It's great while it lasts.

6. I feel free to write what I want to. I know there are many debates about being professional and academic and how blogs have jeopardized that for many people. For me, it's a mute point. I don't tell secrets, lies, sex stories or anything like that and I don't think I'm very controversial. I still have a little ways to go to finish my program and maybe I won't find a job easily and have to re-think this but I have many blogging academic friends and those I read. Some are anonymous, some are not.

7. I use blogs for teaching. I allow students the choice to keep a traditional journal or a blog online. It's a way to engage them/their ideas with a larger online space, help them organize their research, connect with each other (through comments and linked posts) outside of the classroom space, and connect with content. I would be a hippo(crit) if I said blog, but I don't. It's fun for all and it's a stored archive of what happened that term.

8. I LOVE personal narratives, memoirs, diary documentary videos and I've found a couple vlogs that are the everyday version of that. I hope to keep a daily video diary but that will take a little bit more effort. We'll see.

9. I've gotten great baby stuff off my registry from old friends who otherwise wouldn't have known I was pregnant. Gotta love the baby ticker - 89 days to go!

10. I bought a new little camera (that I can't really afford right now) that takes great 6MP stills and video clips. They import with one click and can be posted straight away. I told my honey that "it's for the new baby!). I know, I know. See:
a pointless video
with me, bad princess kitty and foxy blasting on itunes. Hey, it's fun for me & that's what counts!

This morning local news also made me think about the many ways people are using blogs:
- sharing experiences across great distances
- finding comunity outside of your immediate area
- freedom of the press. or is it. please read this about blogger/journalist josh wolf who is being held without bail in federal prison, read the "free josh wolf" wiki here.
- great for campaigns (info, testimonials, links, organizing info, banners) and promotion
- people have many many many many many reasons to do this. u should try it too!

Some great vlogs:

Ryan is Hungry

Minnesota Stories
, Moment Showing, and
Ryanne Edit

August 2, 2006

Call For Papers - Women In Hip Hop

Conference: Wellesley, Women, Hip-Hop
Saturday, October 28, 2006, Wellesley College

Female hip-hop enthusiasts rejoice. This fall, Wellesley College presents its first ever one day symposium on women in hip-hop. This event will celebrate the successes and contributions of women in hip-hop through keynote speeches, art exhibitions, film screenings, and special performances.

This conference will move the dialogue about women in hip-hop forward, past the conversations about video girls and Eminem lyrics that have been taking place for years. This conference will give voice to new topics and new directions in hip-hop, and examine the way we think about hip-hop and its intersection with gender and sexuality.

If you are interested in presenting research, a paper topic, facilitating a workshop, moderating a panel, or otherwise contributing to this conference, please submit an abstract to WellesleyHipHop@gmail.com by September 22, 2006. Some travel accommodations for presenters can be met.


Don't forget to visit my WOMEN IN HIP HOP LINKS page. Artists, blogs, conferences, knowledge... I'm working on updating all the time.

Email me
your webpage if you are a women in hip hop who would like to be added.

(some) Hope for TV

I don't know how you feel about Oprah, but she's gaining some ground for me. Her recent shows with Lisa Ling have been much more informative, engaging and pushing the content to a place I would like to see TV with influence take it.

Yesterday was part 2 of Oprah's shows on "American Schools in Crisis", which focused a bit on problems but also focused on solutions (another refreshing element). Oprah actually said it - yes, there's a link between schools and prisons! She featured different "failing" schools and some alternative schools (like Bill & Melinda Gates' High Tech High, which I would have loved, and a school where teachers give students their cell phones & are on-call for 24hrs/day) and a high school that Sunny Schwartz, an attorney who has worked in the San Francisco County Jail system for more than 20 years, is spearheading the first high school for adults behind bars. Sunny spoke of "feeder" schools, schools that feed populations right into the prisons. They showed footage of the students using alegra to calculate how much time they have lost to crime and prison. One young Black man (29) figured he'd spent 44% of his life behind bars. Read "Educate now or Incarcerate Later".

The show pushed a new organization Stand Up. You can find the stats on education in your state here.

Here's Minnesota:


Tara Yosso recently published a book focused on Chicana/o Education. Get it here:

Tara and I are working on a project of Hollywood's portrayal of "bad" students (read poor, Black, Brown, wild). Here's some of the images we've found:


Different movies (Dangerous Minds, 187, The Substitute+...) all show the same images: dilapidated classrooms, groups of wild and uncontrollable Black/Brown students that are violent, not interested in learning, and nearly unteachable, teen moms, and exhausted teachers. True that much of this is exists in reality, how can we envision something better if all we ever see are problems and the only solutions are military trained teachers (sometimes with guns) like Dangerous Minds and The Substitute?

What have you seen?


Another show I saw recently was Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days. I saw the episode where a border minuteman (and once illegal Cuban immigrant who got legal papers) lives with an undocumented family in LA. I want to see other episodes (on low wage living, living behind bars, as an outsourced programmer, and a pro-choice feminist in a pro-life maternity home). It's out on DVD, and I'll probably post more after I watch all the episodes.

I'm just excited to see "real" content and a return to less "reality" and more documentary influenced TV programming. Finally!


Locally, I'm excited to hear this:

2006 Youth News Initiative - Girls of Color Voicing Their Choice!

KFAI's summer news journalism training program marked its mid-way point this past Friday. Eight young ladies have finalized their story ideas and will begin interviewing subjects next week. Selected news topics include inter-racial dating - a love story, foster care, growing up with a disabled parent, Indigenous students enrolled in charter and public schools, how hip-hop affects girls self-esteem, Juneteenth - is violence killing this community celebration, untold stories from northside Minneapolis, and growing up bi-culturally.

YNI participants invite you to visit them at KFAI on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10:00 - 1:00. Mark your "listening" calendars for late August/early September when all eight stories will be aired on KFAI's Evening News!

August 1, 2006

what drives u crazy?

i HATE when artists call for the 808, mention an 808, or have a shot of one in a video. it's soooo insular and annoying. we don't care. just sing/rap the damn song. why do u need to pay homage to this machine so damn much?

two highly annoyning new ones that come to mind:
the new beyonce/jay-z song "deja vu" - calls for the 808 at the beginning of the song. why? who cares

"bossy" by kelis. such an annoying song. so damn annoying she has to say 808 in every chorus "I'm back with an 808 'cause I'm bossy" and a verse "We gon' keep it bumpin while the 808 is jumpin". why?

LOTS of artists have used it from Bambaataa to the Beasties, but i'm tired of hearing girls call for it on their records.


so what annoys you???

Back Home From Michigan

just back from detroit / flint, michigan. i added another state to my US travels!

this is a very cool thing that makes me think about where i've been & where i still need to visit:

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

looks like i have so more southern, northern midwest, and pacific northwest to visit. i hope my hubby and i don't turn into an RV couple but he would really like to see the country. he's been to minn, wi, ok, and ca i think.



after nwa airline troubles, a long day and a run in with biz markie (funny story - i was yelling at rental car agents inability to get me a car in detroit - motor city, right???? - and i heard his voice yelling from around a beam that divided the benches i was sitting on. i peeked my head around to see biz yelling into his phone. we exchanged a brief look of shared airport exasperation and continued yelling for transpo). finally i rented a car and made it up to flint, skipping the late connecting prop plane that i hate anyway.


i got to hang with my old buddies organic & todd. they are talking of new zealand and paris for upcoming hip hop film festival tour dates. i'm down!

it was great to catch up (and realize i'm not the only one who got old!) the venue was absolutely beautiful. the flint institute of arts is still under construction but you can get a taste:


my girl invincible made the trip up to flint upon my arrival. she's always a great energy to be around. so good that the next day i drove back down to detroit to hang out at Detroit Summer, a great youth project. This summer they rented space in an AMAZING youth complex called Youthville Detroit. it's a 75,000 sq foot complex with a gym, weight room, tutoring center, audio recording studio, video editing and ton more. it's bit corporate (i felt like a teen going thru the doors & encountering security box), but inside there is great creative energy.


invincible's session was a brainstorm / discussion / song making around issues of community, schools, and social change. the students, partnered with local artists / activists, discussed prompts about violence in the home and on the streets, bettering schools, and community unity. they regrouped to present the break-out sessions (the youth were great - on it - & better presenters than some of the adults). then, the facilitators (both musicians) led a session where everyone jumped on instruments or wrote verses building off of key phrases from the discussions. a 20+ minute freestyle ensued. great time for all! then a driving tour thru the city (why are condos, loft, gentrification and lack of community support/resources what's happening in every black/brown urban space?) detroit needs some of our attention - sendresources, funding, ideas and activist love/support to them! apparently pearl jam did (they funded this summer's activities).

& in flint i was blessed with this gift:

theory is out of flint, michigan. she's a very talented emcee and hip hop mom! her cd got me through multiple flint - detroit drives.


i discovered the games on my ipod. loving music quiz & repeating my new favorite song: Don't Feel Right, The Roots

here's a little taste:

[Verse 1-Black Thought]
Yo, in the land of the unseen hand, and hold trouble
Theorize your game, it's difficult to roll a double
The struggle ain't right up in your face, it's more subtle
But it's still comin' across like the bridge and tunnel vision
I try to school these bucks, but they don't wanna listen
That's the reason the system makin' its paper from the prison
And that's the reason we livin' where they don't wanna visit
Where the dope slang and keep swayin' like Sonny Liston
The money missin' and there's mouths to feed
Yet the brain kickin', thinkin' of a thousand things
Remember back in the days, when the kitchen had eggs
And pancakes, thicken and greens and Kool Aid
When the ‘fridgerator naked then the cupboard is bare
People got to strip naked, stick ‘em up in the air
Wasn't lies when they told you wasn't nothin' to fear
Somethin' don't feel right out here, nahmsayin'? Check it out

It don't feel right, it don't feel right
It don't feel, it don't feel, I can't feel it no more
It don't feel right, it don't feel right
It don't feel, it don't feel, I don't feel it no more
Things don't feel right over here
Lately I ain't been seein' clear
It don't feel right, it don't feel right
It don't feel, it don't feel, I can't feel it no more
It don't feel right, it don't feel right
It don't feel, it don't feel, I can't feel it no more
Seems to me nowadays things have changed
I don't know if I feel the same

[Verse 2-Black Thought]
Look, my eyes open ‘cause I'm really a rocksmith
And when inviting me thoughts, I'm really unboxin'
My main adversary in this silly concoction
Freeze your face like bosilium toxin
If you ain't tryin' to get popped, then give me a option
Helicopters choppin' from Philly to Compton
The Jones is the richest since dismissin' the Johnson's
If you ain't sayin' nothin', you a system's accomplice
It should play with your conscience, do away with the nonsense
I'm overseeing anything within my circumference
This ain't a press junket, I ain't seekin' responses
I stand where the people got the heat in they pocket
You mesmerized by the calm nonchalant-ness
I spit a dart, rub on some John Hitchcock shit
If you ain't speakin' your life, your rhyme's adopted
If it don't feel right, then stop it, you nahmsayin'?

It don't feel right, it don't feel right...

[Verse 3-Black Thought]
Yo, field you work in, weapon producin'
Natural disaster got the planet in a panic
We all gots to make that livin'
Sex, drugs, murder, politics and religion
Forms of hustlin', watch who you put all your trust in
Worldwide, we coincide with who sufferin'
Who never had shit and ain't got nothin'
But most strugglin', and make you wanna run up in the ma' fuckin'
With hots on for a piece of the cake back
I can't work for it, I can certainly take that
I'm fired up, thinkin' about the payback, except
You fuck around and be a enemy of the state, black
Ill, but that'd be too real for TV
It's crazy when you too real to be free
If you ain't got no paper then steal this CD
Listen man, I'll let you know how it feel to be me, it don't feel right...



caught the sunset and nightfall on the twin cities. happy to be home.

time to get ready for baby - 91 days to go. until yesterday all we had was:


but my hairstylist (who i haven't been able to afford in over a year) showed up with a high chair & lots of her friend's gently used clothes, blankets and things like that. people are good.