2Pac: And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women. Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women. And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies. And since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one. Jay-Z: Silly rappers, because we got a couple Porsches, MTV stopped by to film our fortresses. We forget the unfortunate. Sure I ponied up a mill, but I didn’t give my time. So in reality I didn’t give a dime, or a damn. I just put my monies in the hands of the same people that left my people stranded. Nothin’ but a bandit, left them folks abandoned. Damn, that money that we gave was just a band-aid, can’t say we better off than we was before. Kanye West: Is it genocide? ‘Cause I can still hear his momma cry, know the family traumatized. Shots left holes in his face, ‘bout piranha-size. The old pastor closed the cold casket, and said the church ain’t got enough room for all the tombs. It’s a war going on outside we ain’t safe from, I feel the pain in my city wherever I go. 314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago. Mos Def: When the average minimum wage is $5.15, you best believe you gotta find a new grind to get cream. The white unemployment rate, is nearly more than triple for black so frontliners got they gun in your back. Bubblin crack, jewel theft and robbery to combat poverty and end up in the global jail economy. Stiffer stipulations attached to each sentence. Budget cutbacks but increased police presence. And even if you get out of prison still livin join the other five million under state supervision. This is business, no faces just lines and statistics from your phone, your zip code, to S-S-I digits. The system break man child and women into figures. Two columns for who is, and who ain’t niggaz. Numbers is hardly real and they never have feelings but you push too hard, even numbers got limits. Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret: the million other straws underneath it - it’s all mathematics. Lupe Fiasco: I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit. Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets. How much money does it take to really make a full clip. 9/11 building 7 did they really pull it. And a bunch of other cover ups. Your childs future was the first to go with budget cuts. If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut. The school was garbage in the first place, thats on the up and up. Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust. You get it then they move you so you never keeping up enough. If you turn on TV all you see’s a bunch of “what the fucks”. Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such. And that aint Jersey Shore, homie thats the news. And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth. Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist. Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit. Thats why I aint vote for him, next one either. I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful. And I believe in the people.
“Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don’t. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest. Couples that enter the sacrament of marriage and are not prepared to go the distance or are not willing to get right with the real love of God cannot thrive. They may cleave together like robins or gulls or anything else that mates for life. But if they eschew this mighty course, at the moment when all are judged for the disposition of their eternal lives, their cleaving won’t mean a thing. God bless the pure and holy. Amen.”
Two things about this incredible passage.
One, I don’t believe in a judging or punishing God or Allah in the religious all-ruling sense. I do believe in the power of people and that collective power/presence is omnipresent and one either draws from it for the greater good, hence making that force better and stronger, or sucks off it and is selfish with it; depleting its beautiful empowering aspects. I am not sure how much of an advocate for institutional religion Morrison is, but this is one of the only descriptions of God I can agree with.
Oh man, I am so sick of hearing Ross on every other track. Never been a fan and SO MANY amazing productions this guy shows up on, huffing and puffing and blowing all over the place. Anyway - another hot Nas joint.
A friend’s analysis of the disparity between the Toronto Star’s coverage of the recent Eaton Centre and Little Italy shootings in Toronto. [note: the link embedded in the quote above goes to a Rosie DiManno op-ed on the same topic at The Star]
Every father is a son. My own is away this Father’s Day, being a son and visiting his mother in Tehran. I actually know very little about my Father’s upbringing; some of it because we don’t have the kind of relationship where we talk about these things. Some of it because I did not grow up with my grandparents or around my aunts and uncles to ask them, or at least watch them for clues of apparent nurture or the invisible hand of nature. This gap in my Father’s story means that I attribute things about him to my life with him; not when he was only a son, or a new husband, only as a father. His story begins with me.
Us moving to Canada meant my parents aged away from their families. My Dad was not with his father when he died, nor was my Mother when both her parents passed. My Dad handled it differently than my Mom. He took it harder, from 7000 miles and two decades away. Both my parents are extremely loyal people, I get that from them. I think my Father puts all that he missed not being there with and for his family into what he can do for family nearby.
My Father has more books than I have seen in some bookstores. When I was very young, I found one on his shelf called “How to Raise a Bright Daughter”. The cover had a photo of little girl finger-painting. Whatever it said on the inside, I can’t remember, even though I looked at the book a few times over the years. The endearment I feel for my Father for having this book is hard to put into words. Through whatever conflict - and there were many - it was a running theme in our relationship. There is a story I tell about my Father, my favourite story about us, which has grown in importance and meaning as I age and think about what has made me who I am. I was 12 and somewhat new to the neighbourhood. We had moved into a large house in a middle- to upper-income area where people had pools, alligator and polo shirts, gold initial rings and summers away at camp….from an apartment in a lower income neighbourhood filled with buildings, townhouses and subsidized housing. I was a fish out of water in my new setting, and I was already entering teenage-dom and all its social pressures and hormonal horrors. A few months in the new place, my Dad, with a Masters in electrical engineering, had lost his job. He talked to me one night to say he had taken a job delivering pizzas and that he might deliver to my friends’ homes and they might recognize him…will I be embarrassed? How did I feel about that? Maybe in a parallel life, I would have been ashamed. But that he considered the implications - as petty as they may be in the grand scheme of things, but defined my whole life at that age - made me feel so loved and respected that I felt both proud and very protective of him. I recalled what I had already been taught, there is no shame in any work. I told him I didn’t care, work is work. So I think I get this from my Father, too. The importance of having difficult conversations about hard truths with the people you love; it shows them how much they mean to you to put in that work. It also made me realize how difficult it must have been for him to be in that position, for all the reasons imaginable. Whether or not it was his intention, that chapter also shaped how I see people in what many think of as “small” and invisible jobs.
Father’s Day in Iran falls in the month of Rajab, which is considered a holy month when warfare and battle are prohibited. I hope he remembers it’s Father’s Day here.