Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

15 Reasons To Be Down With HRC

July 26, 2016

There will never be a flawless politician. Politicians gonna politic, pander and polarize. It’s what they do. I’m not here to tell you how to vote, so save that for another comment thread. Disclosure: I am a Democrat, but I have supported independent candidates before. I even voted for Sanders in the NY primary. I understand the sting of having your candidate lose. But I also understand what’s at stake as we stare directly at the *very* real prospect of a Trump presidency.

1454104868100-clinton43

So I am laying out my 15 point case for the Democratic nominee. Yes. Benghazi. I know. All the Clinton policies that were enacted while she was FLOTUS, that she couldn’t vote on–but watched happen at close range. I know. The emails. Careless and horribly managed. I know that too. The Iraq War vote. I knowwww. But remember: 9/11 happened in *her* state, and Bush-Cheney snow-jobbed damn near errybody in its aftermath. People with sense acknowledge this now. And she paid for it dearly when she lost the nomination to then Sen. Obama in 2008. Not excusing any of it. Just letting you know I know before all the “but, what about this-” “and what about that?” starts.

I posted this on journalist Bene’ Viera’s Facebook page when she called for comments on who her friends are voting for and why. It inspired me to make it a blog post, so I can stop repeating myself, and so those who find it useful can share it.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) is

1. Smarter

2. Better educated than her opponent

3. Highly and uniquely experienced as a former Secy. of State, US Senator, and FLOTUS

4. Endorsed by President Obama (and Bernie Sanders)

5. Hailed by GOP leaders with sense–meaning non partisan goals have a shot at not being obstructed

6. She is pro reproductive choice/rights

7. Values inclusion

8. No KKK surrogates (Google Trump’s)

9. Values DIPLOMACY (Trump cannot even spell the word, much less enact it)

10. Has the respect of world leaders

11. The independent candidates in this cycle have NO shot at being nominated or winning against Trump (I’ve voted independent before, so no, it’s not about that)

12. She will likely nominate an even handed SCOTUS replacement for Scalia’s seat

13. She understands the power of the non-white electorate, and engages with them. Trump does neither.

14. Her cabinet will most likely be the most gender balanced one in US History

15. She understands how government works, from the lessons learned on Obamacare and NAFTA–and can use this learning in the role of POTUS.

And as far as bullying goes with respect to voting from your friends and family, it’s nothing compared to the sustained, unrelenting institutional bullying of a womanizing, unscrupulous neo-fascist running the free world as he bleeds the economy and adds back the trillion Obama erased with interest…to line his own pockets.

The Combover is the closest thing to Sarah Palin we’ve seen since…Sarah Palin. And even *she* was a governor. Meanwhile, Trump hasn’t so much as held a City Council seat. But his peen, and the perception of him having money (because we are still waiting to see his tax returns) are the reasons he hasn’t been laughed off the dais. Let that marinate.

Thembisa S. Mshaka is an International Relations major turned entertainment industry veteran. An award-winning creative writer/producer and festival selected filmmaker, she is the author on the definitive business title for and about women in entertainment, Put Your Dreams First, Handle Your [entertainment] Business.

Basketball Wifeys

April 15, 2010

Ever since the R&B group Next released the hit single ‘Wifey’ (2000), there’s been some confusion about the true definition of a wife.

Take the new VH1 series Basketball Wives, starring Shaquille O’Neal’s estranged wife, Shaunie O’Neal-“A show about 6 women who are best friends searching for stability in the unstable arena of being the significant other to a basketball superstar,” according to VH1.com.

On the show, Shaunie O’Neal and her gal-pals are all at various points along the wifey spectrum; Shaunie has filed for divorce from Shaq; Suzie is a co-parent of two with Michael Olowokondi; Gloria is engaged to Matt Barnes; Evelyn suffered a broken engagement with Antoine Walker; Royce is a serial b-ball girlfriend and self-described “firecracker”; Jennifer is married to Eric Williams. So, if my math is correct, there’s one actively married woman on the show. I hope more married women will come off the bench over the course of the season so viewers can see what it takes to sustain high profile marriages.

For the record, being a wife is hard work.  It’s about being committed to your partner through the good times and the bad, whether they are famous, rich or neither. Being a wife requires forgiveness, compromise, and support. Being a wife means accepting your man, and his entire family as they are—never as easy as it sounds.

Now wifeys are a different story altogether. Women who haven’t made it past the engagement…wifeys. Women who shacked up…wifeys. Women who’ve been knocked up but haven’t been wifed up…do I even have to say it? Such women are not wives. They’re second string.

My marriage is by no means high profile or perfect. But I am happily married. Save for Jennifer, is there a viable marriage in this bunch?

I’m not one to knock the next woman’s hustle. I’m happy to see Shaunie handling her entertainment business as an executive producer. My point of contention is that the show is mis-titled. It should be called Basketball Wifeys. Calling it Basketball Wives is false advertising. They may have shacked up or co-parented, but they have not been wifed up. And until you have, you don’t know what it takes to be one. That’s why when things go wrong and promises are broken, wifeys get the shaft and the wife gets half.

Being married is serious business. It’s the most exclusive ‘club’ on the planet and a hot-button political issue for those in the club—and seeking entry. Sure, committed relationships can rock without the paperwork, but it’s not the same as being married. Just ask Alexis Phifer, who came thiiis close to marrying Kanye West. Or Katheryn Bigelow, James Cameron’s contribution to the First Wives Club.

Chilli: Real Star, Real Relationship Criteria

On the flipside, there’s VH1’s What Chilli Wants featuring Chilli from pop supergroup TLC. According to VH1.com, Chilli decides to “take the reins of her romantic situation and launch an all out search for the love of her life.” The show is also a nice look for Brooklyn relationship diva and ‘Girl, Get Your Mind Right’ author Tionna Smalls.

It’s refreshing to see a bonafide celebrity looking for love utilizing a set of standards. Chilli isn’t hung up on how men earn money or whether they have kids already; she has a son herself. If this means a God-fearing, smoke, alcohol and pork free man who’s ripped and well endowed, so be it. More of us should be this specific and fearless in our search for a soul mate.

Chilli’s list is important. Without one, She could wind up off course and possibly bring home someone she’ll regret later kinda like grocery shopping while ravenously hungry. What Chilli Wants flexes real girl power because whether she finds a husband in 10 episodes or not, we all know she’ll be fine. “No one’s perfect; I know I’m not perfect, but I think women compromise too much.” Well said, Chilli! You are well on your way to adding happily married wife to all your great accomplishments. No waterfall chasing here.

In Honor of Notorious B.I.G

May 21, 2009
Breakfast of champions of rap

Breakfast of champions of rap

Pulling out some of my photos from the ’90s, from a time I am so blessed to have lived and worked in; a decade that gave us hip-hop’s golden era. I found the photos of BIG in this note, and reconnected to a time when hip-hop had purpose; had a sense of humor; had much more respect for its women (and indeed a chorus of female voices to boot); had a hunger for innovation that eclipsed its need for shine. Hip-hop’s commitment to being dope is what turned the spotlight on her in the first place. BIG represents that for me. An inrcedible lyricist and magnetic personality who could not be denied, who brought the shine to him.

He visited me with Cease at GAVIN four days before his last. Our interview didn’t feel like one at all. We all laughed as the two of them played the dozens over salmon croquettes, eggs, and yes-Welch’s grape. I ordered in because of the tension that BIG being in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Tupac’s first Cali home, meant back then. He had so much security; traveled in an unmarked van. So many times I think back on that day, wishing security had been as tight in LA as it was in the Bay. He loved the energy of the Bay, too, because the Bay was always more inclined toward hip-hop unity in diversity than its SoCal counterpart. When Ricky Leigh called me at 4am on March 9, 1997, none of the competition, none of the beef, none of the parties, none of the bullshit mattered. Hip-hop’s collective heart was broken for the second time in six months.

including Michelle S., Foxy Brown, Joey Arbagey, Franzen Wong, Latin Prince, Sway

KMEL Dream Team: including Michelle S., Foxy Brown, Joey Arbagey, Franzen Wong, Latin Prince, Sway

He rose from the table, grabbed his cane (he was recovering from a car accident), snapped some pictures with me, bear hugged me and went on to KMEL and WILD, where he gave the infamous final radio interview caught on video. We saw each other again at the album listening event held by BMG distribution. And listening to that album was like hearing greatness pour through speakers.

One thing I have yet to find is the “Life After Death” buyway he autographed for me at the BMG mixer. I remember what it said though: “To Thembisa, thank you for being different.”

Biggie, thank you for being you.

Doin' it BIG

Doin' it BIG

The United States of 50 Cent

April 4, 2009
So my new favorite Sunday show, The United States of Tara comes to a close this weekend.

united-states-of-tara-promo

In a nutshell (pardon the pun) Toni Collette deftly dances between her central character, named Tara, and that woman’s other personalities, or ‘alters’: T, a petulant, hypersexed teenager; Alice, a prudish but alluring homemaker cut from Donna Reed’s cloth; Buck, her male alter who lives at the intersection of trailer trash biker and delusional Vietnam vet. And then: there’s Gimme, the feral child, an alter that screeches, cowers, destroys and even pees on sleeping relatives in the middle of the night.


The show has led me to draw an unlikely parallel between Tara and of all people, 50 Cent. Now, I am not a shrink, and I don’t think 50 Cent has multiple personality disorder. On the contrary: I think he’s got a firm grasp on who he is. But the Showtime series, executive produced by Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno, got me to thinking about all the personalities 50 has revealed to us thus far.

For the show’s central character Tara, there is Curtis Jackson. He listens more than he talks, is a brilliant creative (like Tara, who is a muralist—only his mediums are movies, music, books and apparel). Low-key and perceptive, Curtis is probably the least exciting of all the personalities, but loveable for the same reasons.


tara1

50-cent-2

Then there’s Tara’s polar opposite, T. Less than half Tara’s age with twice the sex drive, and no regard for consequences. T’s attitude is ‘all me all the time’, period. And while the only way to dial T back is to banish her to the shed in the family’s back yard, sometimes it’s cool having T around because she knows how to have a good time. In 50’s amusement park, this character is the irrepressible Pimpin’ Curly. A newly revealed personality, Curly rocks plush furs, a red sistercurl ‘do (okay, it’s a wig cocked to the side, but roll with me here), fresh kicks, and a mouth as foul as his attitude. And it works for him. His bitches love it. And the money they bring him is all that matters; he’s a legend in his own mind.


tee-2

Pimpin' Curly

Even among Tara’s alters, there is a voice of reason. The same holds true for Curtis. In Tara’s world, there is Alice, perfectly coiffed with clipped speech. Alice’s work is in the home, but make no mistake—she’s all business. You better have it together around Alice, and if you don’t she’ll help you with that. Even the show’s subway posters for Alice read ‘She’s One Tough Mother’. Enter Earl, the equivalent personality for Curtis. Straight-laced and accomplished in the corporate world, he’s one tough brother. He’s even shared co-consciousness with Curly and faced him down, telling Curly, “I’m not afraid of you. You’re goin’ to hell. Hell, hell, hell, hell, HELL!”

AliceEarl

Who among the United States of 50 measures up to Buck, Tara’s chain-smoking, crotch adjusting male alter? Well, that’s easy. 50 Cent. He’s as male as male gets. Swagger and shit-talking beyond belief, right down to the monogram pistol holster. To let this guy tell it, he’s invincible. And he has a point: he survived Southside Jamaica, Queens, the drug trade and being served a dishonorable discharge from the rap game after being shot 9 times. Exacting revenge on the same industry that left him for dead says he’s right.


buck

50-cent3

I was 50’s advertising writer for “How To Rob” and Power of The Dollar. Our bond goes back to 1999 B.B. (Before the Bullets). He even generously blessed the back cover of my book with a quote.


“There are only a couple people I still keep in touch with from my days at Columbia, people who totally focused on my project and did their best for me. Thembisa is one of them.”
—50 Cent, Shady/Aftermath recording artist and G-Unit branding phenomenon


I’ve been in the presence of both Curtis and 50 Cent. I have witnessed the warm smile of one soul transition into the sneer of another at close range. More recently, I have been thoroughly entertained from afar by Curly and Earl, who prove that Curtis hasn’t lost his sense of humor, and may have even found some self-deprecation after all the success he’s achieved in music, business, film, and fashion.

When an alter overtakes Tara, she transitions as a result of a word, action or behavior that triggers their appearance. Unlike Curtis, Tara is still wondering what cataclysmic event brought on her mental state. Curtis’ near-death experience answered that question for him. See, I believe he knows why these personalities are manifesting, and more than that, wields them in a way Tara can’t. All this shrink talk from The United States of Tara begs a few questions.


What do you think triggers Curtis? Is there a Gimme in his arsenal of personalities? If so, when will we get to meet him? Or is he holding that one back before he self-destructs?


curtis-21

I for one can’t wait to find out.


Showtime’s The United States of Tara finale premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10pm. My book Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business streets April 23. The new album from 50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct is slated for release later this year.

Black Oscar History: Head-to-Head Match-ups and More

February 22, 2009

It’s Oscar Night for the 81st time.

We’ve got a bonafide takeover by people of color; they just happen to be from India. Slumdog Millionaire. Shout out to Loveleen Tandan, the Indian female co-director who could not be nominated due to Oscar rules that mandate one nominee for director (which, after tonight, may need to change). ‘Nuff said.

This year, women of color dominate the Best Supporting Actress category. For the third time in history, we have two African American women up for Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for 8 minutes of sheer awe-inspiring power with Meryl Streep in that scene where they take a walk in Doubt, and Taraji P. Henson for her absorbing portrayal of Benjamin Button’s momma across the decades in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Hispanic powerhouse Penelope Cruz is vying for Oscar too, for her nuanced performance in the acclaimed Vicky Christina Barcelona. (editor’s note: Cruz won).

This feels REALLY good. I was loving the takeover by women last year as Diablo Cody snagged Best Screenplay for Juno and woman producer Eva Orner won for Best Documentary feature (Taxi To The Dark Side).

I marvel at the velocity with which Black actors are being nominated and winning in the late 20th and throughout the 21st Century thus far. For example: Hattie McDaniel was the first Black actor male or female to win Best Supporting Actress (Gone With The Wind, 1939). It took 51 years for that to happen again with Whoopi Goldberg’s win in the same category (Ghost, 1990). By comparison, it has been full throttle for sistas in the new millennium: eleven years after Whoopi’s victory, Halle wins Best Actress (Monster’s Ball, 2001) and Jennifer Hudson earns Best Supporting a mere five years later (Dreamgirls, 2006).

With all this talk of velocity, domination and match-ups the basketball junkie in me perked up. What OTHER Black head-to-head match-ups have there been in Oscar history? Check these out.

African American Oscar Nominee Match-ups (Asterisk denotes winners):

Best Supporting Actress

1967: Carol Channing [yes-she is biracial] (Thoroughly Modern Millie) vs. Beah Richards (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner)

Carol Channing

Carol Channing

1985: Margaret Avery vs. Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple) Both nominated from the same film for the first and only time ever!

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

2008: Viola Davis (Doubt) vs. Taraji P.Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson

Best Actress in A Leading Role

1972: Diana Ross (Lady Sings The Blues) vs. Cicely Tyson (Sounder)

Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Best Supporting Actor

1987: Denzel Washington (Cry Freedom) vs. Morgan Freeman (Street Smart)

2004: *Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) vs. Jamie Foxx (Collateral). A lion bests Foxx in an upset.

2006: Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) vs. Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)

Djimon Hounsou

Best Actor in a Leading Role

2001: *Denzel Washington (Training Day) vs. Will Smith (Ali). Bad KOs pretty!

2004: *Jamie Foxx (Ray) vs. Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) As two real life figures brought to the big screen compete, the Foxx comes back to win in his second nominated category of that year.

2006: *Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland) vs. Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness). In a battle between two true stories, the dictator beats the stockbroker.

Will Smith

Will Smith

I was wondering about all the Oscar History African Americans have made, and Wikipedia satisfied all my queries!

Did you know:

The first Black person EVER nominated for Best Cinematography is Remi Adefarasin for Elizabeth (1998).

Remi Adefarasin

Remi Adefarasin

Only two Black costume designers have ever been nominated with both nominated twice, Ruth E. Carter (Malcolm X, 1992 and Amistad, 1997) and Sharen Davis (Ray, 2004 and Dreamgirls, 2006).

Hugh A. Robertson is the only Black person ever nominated for Best Editing (Midnight Cowboy, 1969).

We have experienced solid victories in music and sound. We know about wins by Best Score winners Prince (Purple Rain, 1984) and Herbie Hancock (Round Midnight, 1986). We always celebrate Best Original Song winners Isaac Hayes (Shaft, 1968) , Irene Cara (Flashdance, 1983), Lionel Richie (White Nights, 1985), and Stevie Wonder (The Woman In Red, 1984) and most recent winners Three 6 Mafia (Hustle & Flow, 2005).

Three6Mafia

Three6Mafia

But on the technical side for film sound, only TWO brothers have ever been nominated for Best Sound, and EACH have won twice!

Willie D. Burton (seven time nominee) winning for Bird (1988) and Dreamgirls (2006)

Russell Williams II (two-time nominee with a 100% success rate) winning both times, back-to-back wins for Glory (1989) and Dances With Wolves (1990)

Russell Williams II

Russell Williams II

All of these stellar achievers are truly the best in the business, and I am compelled to give them their props!

The Oscars will never be the end-all be all measurement of our achievement, nor should they be. However, our strides over the years are a big deal if you ask me. Posting the link (below) so you can see how far we’ve come. You’ll make some connections of your own; enjoy them all and revel in our progress by any means necessary!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Black_Academy_Award_winners_and_nominees

Twitter: putyrdreams1st
Blog: www.thembisamshaka.com

Making Black History With Emmanuel Jal

February 15, 2009

Creatives need each other. For inspiration, for affirmation, for that unique connection and understanding only fellow creatives can provide. It explains in part why we collaborate, why we make moves together as communicators.

Learning from each other as we teach with our words.

Mshaka and Jal: Learning from each other as we teach with our words.

I am drawing fresh, potent inspiration from a man of deep conviction and endless generosity: War Child author, emcee philanthropist and filmmaker Emmanuel Jal. I had the pleasure of being introduced to him by Nefertiti Strong and Richard Pelzer of MEGA Dream, who both told me he wanted to learn more about the business from me. We became instant family, tied by our work and our love for art, our commitment to making people better through understanding and education. When they asked me to support his cause, there was no hesitation. I laced him with a galley of Put Your Dreams First. A week later, he said he was “digging the book and learning a lot”.

After reading his story, I had to do my part to make sure others learned it. I mean, if this brother could lose his family, his village, and his childhood and rise to prominence as an emcee without hoes, bitches or bling, I could support his efforts. I created a Facebook event for his film’s NYC engagement with all the details:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=49801144796

Watch us ring the closing bell of the NY Stock Exchange here:

http://www.nyse.com/events/1234264451643.html

02-09-12cb_1

Joining Emmanuel on the podium from Left to Right – Marva Allen, Owner of Hue-Man Bookstore; Fields Jackson Jr., Founder and CMO of Racing Towards Diversity Magazine; Nefertiti Strong, President and CEO of Catch A Dream Entertainment; Thembisa Mshaka, Author of Handle Your Entertainment Business (in stores April 23rd); Richard E. Pelzer II, President and CEO of MEGA Management Inc; Gail Mckenzie, President of Contact International Inc; Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International; Larry Liebowitz, Executive Vice-President in Charge of US Markets and Global Technology of NYSE; Emmanuel Jal; Violet Tabor, Executive Director of FACESNY; Jaime Carey, CMO of Barnes and Noble; Sally Richardson, President & Publisher of St. Martin’s Press; Robert Marchman, Chairman of the NYSE Euronext Diversity Council and Executive Vice-President of NYSE Regulation’s Enforcement Division and Lacy DuBose, Agency Fields Executive of State Farm Insurance.

Mshaka with Agent Regina Brooks, Serendipity Literary Agency and Jamie Carey, CMO, Barnes & Noble

Mshaka with Agent Regina Brooks (r), Serendipity Literary Agency and Jaime Carey (center), CMO, Barnes & Noble

Gail Mckenzie, Attache' to the President of Gabon, Mshaka, Nefertiti Strong, MEGA Dream

(l to r): Global Exchange: Gail Mckenzie, Attache' to the President of Gabon, Mshaka, Nefertiti Strong, MEGA Dream

Once a child soldier in his native Sudan, he is now building a school for his decimated village to educate a new generation. He is fasting daily, having only dinner, until the 300,000 EUROS needed is raised. The way he sees it, if 100,000 people give 3 apiece (do the exchange math America, for us it’s closer to 5 bucks), the Leer Academy (named for his village) will be funded.

You MUST see this film!

You MUST see this film!

So don’t wait-here’s another chance to make Black History in the spirit of global citizenship that President Obama embodies. Hit up http://www.emmaueljal.org and support his non-profit, GUA Africa now. His incredible documentary about a harrowing journey from battle to hip-hop and back home to his family after 18 years is playing until February 22 at the George Faison Firehouse in Harlem, definitely catch it if you’ll be in NYC.

I watched the film and his performance on February 12th and was moved beyond measure. His album is a heady mix of African rhythms, rock riffs and operatic vocals that does not disappoint.

emmanuel-jal-book-ad

You can get the album and memoir of the same name everywhere right now.

LISA CORTES AND MO’NIQUE “PUSH” AND SWEEP SUNDANCE!

January 27, 2009
BOTH LISA CORTES AND MO’NIQUE ARE FEATURED IN PUT YOUR DREAMS FIRST!
CONGRATULATIONS, LISA CORTES AND MO’NIQUE! What an inspiration you both are!

These ladies swept the Sundance Film Festival as Executive Producer and outstanding actor respectively in PUSH. The film adaptation of Sapphire’s searing novel captured The Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Prize in addition to the Special Jury Prize for Acting, awarded to Mo’Nique for her nightmarish portrayal of Mary, the lead character Clareece’s abusive mother.

http://festival.sundance.org/2009/film_events/films/
push_based_on_the_novel_by_sapphire

Both Lisa and Mo’Nique were generous enough to share their trials, triumphs and secrets to career fulfillment in my soon-to-be-released career guide for those who want to know what the entertainment biz is REALLY like, entitled Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business.

PUSH Executive Producer and music industry icon Lisa Cortes.
Lisa talks about making a clean break after a strenuous lawsuit against PolyGram Records and changing lanes into film, where she joined forces with anti-establishment producer-director Lee Daniels (the only African American to win an Oscar as a producer for Monster’s Ball).
Mshaka (right) With Mo’Nique and Woody Victor at BET Awards ’07 Host Promo Shoot
Mo’Nique breaks it down as only she can about hiring the right entourage and breaking the silence of racism and sexism in television production as the executive producer and creator of not one but TWO hit reality shows.
Mo’Nique (left) and Gabourey Sibide (right), who plays Clareece

Honorable Mention: Also featured in the book is makeup legend of music, TV and film, Nzingha, who did a masterful job on Push.

See Lee Daniels talk about the film here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5NvQPjyWzU

Pre-order Put Your Dreams First now and save over 30%. Trust me, these wormen’s stories are worth the wait while you get the savings!

http://www.amazon.com/Put-Your-Dreams-First-entertainment/dp/0446409464

Sisters storming Hollywood. That’s what happens when you Put Your Dreams First!

Available now for pre-orders wherever you buy books, in stores April 23

Check out Thembisa’s interview with Sai Browne!

January 27, 2009

Hear their lively exchange about Obama, the Black electorate, fatherhood and Put Your Dreams First on PoliticsRemixed.com here:

 ‘ >PoliticsRemixed.com with Sai Browne

After you listen, feed back. What do you think Obama’s most lasting impact will be on communities of color? Comment and let me know!

Thank You, Front Page Radio!

January 16, 2009

Just got off the phone with Dominique DiPrima, Luis, and the conscious people of Los Angeles (indeed the world with www.kjlhradio.com).

We had a powerful discussion about the Oscar Grant III case. I appreciate being able to come on and speak the truth about the mobilization that has taken root in Oakland and spread across the country. Special shout to Davey D of KPFA and Dereca Blackmon of CAPE (Coalition Against Police Execution).

I highlighted the need for national police reform at the federal level, effective community engagement, and the abysmal leadership failure in Oakland surrounding this case. We also noted that individuals are taking freedom of expression to a new level by documenting misconduct on their phones and mini-cams. Devices made for our entertainment have become powerful tools in the pursuit of justice; for accuracy in reporting.

Because of the forethought to shoot footage, and the courageous work of everyday people, Oscar Grant’s murder is a global story. I doubt that his killer, ex-BART officer Mehserle, would have been charged with murder without it.

Here’s to a post-racial police system worthy of a post-racial America at the dawn of the Age of Obama.

log onto the station’s site to hear the interview. and to hit me up on Facebook, just search Thembisa Mshaka at http://www.facebook.com.

Note: for those of you who were interested in my book, it’s called Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business–and is available at a 40% savings for pre-order now in advance of its April 23 release: 

www.amazon.com/Put-Your-Dreams-First-entertainment/dp/0446409464

Note to DL Hughley: KWANZAA Has Theme Music!

December 15, 2008

I was a bit put off by his sketch about Kwanzaa today. He actually got a Jewish composer to sing some bootleg Broadway cheese because he couldn’t find a decent Kwanzaa song. Like Black folks couldn’t be counted on to sing about their own holiday!

Then I realized: It’s not entirely his fault; these songs are tough to find.

So I’m posting this one: it was on a Polygram promo called Mad Tidings. It was sung by Emage, a talented trio of young ladies form Oakland, Kimbre’ly Evans, Mykah Montgomery (of the jazz family of Montgomerys) and Taura Jackson–all now enjoying careers as writers, vocalists and tour/session singers. It’s from 1993, DL-long before you had the show!

I hope there is some follow-up about this because the song educates about the holiday in a very effective way–to his point that “maybe more people would celebrate Kwanzaa if it had a song”.

Mykah and Taura from Emage are on Facebook; maybe they can get it up on iTunes or some other outlet so the song can spread in time for Kwanzaa ’08. Oh yeah–and Mykah is featured in my book Put Your Dreams First talking about how she learned from the business so she could work in it on her own terms. Not sure if you can get the song from the post so in the event you cannot, I will make sure they get copies of it–and circle back to you.

Happy Kwanzaa everyone!
Thembisa

01 Happy Kwanzaa.m4a