November 7, 2011

remembering Michael Jackson....

I remember it like yesterday.  I was on the train....on my way home.  Cell rang.  It was Tee.  She said "Did you hear Michael Jackson had a heart attack?"  I had not...and frankly, I didn't believe her.  It was just too.....unbelievable. Unfathomable.  Unreal.  Could not be real.  By the time I got home and turned on the news to confirm it was all just a bad joke....he was dead.  Confirmed dead.  I screamed at the television.  "Noooooo!!!!" It was all I could say.  Michael Jackson and DEAD? No place in my consciousness for that. 

Yes, of course...I know that eventually everyone dies...but some people are so "larger than life",  you almost expect them to be around forever.  And I'm not talking in the philosophical "he'll live on through his music" sense.  I mean a lot of us can't imagine some people i.e. stars, dying.  More evidence of deifying humans...putting regular folks (even SUPER talented ones) on pedestals...that they can't help but fall headlong off of simply because they are HUMAN.  They will disappoint eventually....either by being crackheads, cheaters who have babies outside of their marriages, liars, closet this & that or overall bad decision makers that put their very charmed lives in danger.

When Michael Jackson died, we mourned in our house for at least 6 months.  This included blastin' the History Album over and over, scouring the internet for rare interviews of MJ....spending hours on Saturdays watching said rare interviews, his music videos, and anything JACKSON (including his brothers' reality show)...and of course "schooling" our nieces and nephews that came to visit on MJ.  This meant they had to watch Thriller, whether they wanted to or not.

Our mourning was not because Michael Jackson THE KING OF POP died.  It was because Michael Jackson, our buddy who we had so many memories with...who was like family...had died.  And he left way too early.  The fact that they found his doctor guilty of causing his death today doesn't really do much for me.  MJ is still gone.  sigh. I guess this is how my parents felt when Marvin Gaye died....

bite of the day ~ He wasn't perfect, but he was ours.


November 1, 2011

do good

There are times that you just know that you are in the right place...doing the right thing.  It's not about you or anything else except being PRESENT.  This past weekend was one of those times.  The 1st Englewood Film Festival.  Closing night film...The Interrupters.  If you know, enough said.

 I first heard about it via Facebook, since I am "friends" with the founder, independent filmmaker Mark Harris.  If there was ever a little Giant on stilts, it's him.  When he has something going on, he will BLAST messages out to anyone who will listen (or read)...over and over...and over again, in search of a response.  After seeing several of these messages, I finally went to the official website...admittedly with a sigh... "Like, dude..really??? (sigh again) Let me check this out before he blows up my computer pubbing this thing!".  Persistence.  Gotta love it. lol

Now, Englewood has a pretty rough rep....even my no news watching self has heard about all the crime and violence jumping off in this neighborhood.  Most folks that don't live there, ain't trying to go there....for nothing.  Fortunately, I'm the same girl that moved to a town called Berwyn, clueless about the history of racism (and yes, the white folks emptied them apartments with the quickness after two little black ladies moved in...claiming they couldn't afford the rent anymore.  Hmmm.  Suspect!)....and even if I had known, I wouldn't have cared.  I'm crazy enough to believe I'll be SAFE anytime, anywhere by God's grace.  Therefore, I go where I please without a second thought, that includes Englewood.

The arts changes lives....and Mark bringing his own personal "Stop the Violence and Do Something Productive" campaign to the hood hopefully will do just that.  Instead of just complaining, he took action.  So, I knew I not only had to get our arts nonprofit, The Anointed Harvesters, involved in some (last minute) way....but I had to personally BE THERE to support.  At the end of the day, I got much more out of it than I gave or anticipated.

The closing night film "The Interrupters" is a documentary about a Chicago-based nonprofit called Ceasefire and three of their "Interrupters".  The film followed this group as they literally stepped into violent situations and mentored folks caught up in the cycle of gangs, crime, miseducation and overall hard living.  All of the interrupters come from the same background as the folks they are now trying to help.  Turning back, not to go back...but to pull others forward.  My heart was especially touched by Ameena, infamous gangsta Jeff Fort's daughter.  She is the eagle that spite of the broken wing.  Selah.  They all made me want to do....better.

bite of the day ~ If you're not DOING, at least support those who are. 
Support positive independents:
DO GOOD, every chance you get.