Social Media Content Control or No New Sharecropping, No, No, No

Social media content control, as well as curation, can be a difficult process. Once we have comfortably programmed our favorite phone application to remember our screen names and passwords, we tend to forget that we are providing content in a means similar to sharecropping. Now, for Black African Americans familiar with US sharecropping, this metaphor might seem a bit of a stretch. Like with most things US, economic, and Black, the story is much more hostile, violent, and inhumane than the story outside of the United States. In the same way that slavery in Brazil or England tends to read much less brutal than in the United States, so does the practice of sharecropping tend to read much more fair in other places.

 

To keep things neat and tidy here, the essence of the analogy of Twitter user to Twitter as tenant farmer to landlord, is producer/worker to owner. As of the date of this writing, the Owl’s Asylum account on Twitter is suspended. That means, I do not have the ability to delete, republish, or respond to any of the one hundred thousand plus pieces of content I have provided Twitter the company with. I do not have access to the one-hundred and twenty shy of six thousand followers I have accumulated over the past four or so years. I have no control over any of the writings stored on the servers that house the content of Twitter. As a result of this relationship, Twitter severing ties with Asylum has lost me half to one-third of my organic traffic to Asylum. Those are not good numbers. But, I blame Owl for this.

 

I do not blame myself for Twitter suspending my account. If I had a guest post on Asylum that generated five thousand or more users to interact with it daily, like say, this post, and I was discomforted by the writer of that post, I would not pull the post. But, I am Owl, not the owners and developers of Twitter, and they have their own rules to abide by. My point of accountability lies in developing a stronger content model on the apparatus of someone else, than on my own.

 

I have worked incessantly to establish the brand Owl’s Asylum, Owl, and Asylum under the same principles of “poor righteous teacher” that I live by. In being one that is capable of forging radical ideas and developing ingenious tactics to deploy said ideas, I am upset that I have spent so much time in one channel that I do not own. As the person that developed Owl’s Asylum, the only space online for Black people to examine media, entertainment, culture, and Black African American history from the perspective of someone that has seen prison, homelessness, and university, I am upset with myself. As the person that developed Owl’s Asylum, a space for thinking Black people to gain insights into the messages being communicated to them so they can better think for themselves as opposed to allowing others to think for them, yes, damn it, I am extremely salty with Owl.

 

I write for the Thinking Person. People who read Owl’s Asylum are people that like to ask questions and do not like when their emotional drawstrings are pulled. This especially when those emotional drawstrings are also doubling as their purse strings. When most online content providers were “dumbing down” their content, I was looking for a bigger thesaurus, a more unabridged dictionary, and more abstractions to apply to the everyday struggle. I should have known better, as stated here, I am a “Digital Hustler”, and that implies something I hate admitting I overlooked. Social media is a great opportunity to meet new people, but unless you are paying the server fees, I cannot advise you providing content on these sites as if you are.

 

According to eMarketer predictions, Twitter will reach an ad revenue generated evaluation of one billion dollars by the year 2014. That is ad revenues generated primarily(53%) through mobile devices. Let me ask a series of questions here:

 

How many people do you know logging into Twitter to read ads, “promoted content”?

 

Of those that you know that definitely do not log on to Twitter dot com to read “promoted content”, how many log on to read the content provided by others?

 

Of that group of people that log on to read the content provided by others, how many of the people they log on to read are getting any percentage points of revenue directly from Twitter the corporation?

 

Now, that is sharecropping the United States of America way. Twitter was not even willing to provide Owl and his Asylum a reason as to why the account was suspended. I had to search engine my way to an understanding of why my followers were asking about my whereabouts. I came across this piece on the topic, and this article, then this one, and this one, and then this one. After reviewing the consistencies across a few other channels, I still do not know why Twitter suspended my account. Nor do I feel compelled to fight to have access to provide a company with free content that they are receiving a projected one billion dollars in ad revenues from. Like the Digital Hustler, I am, I am willing to chalk this lack of social media content control to the game, and keep moving.

 

A few months back I was reading an article posted by Sonia Simone. The article was posted on highly recognized CopyBlogger dot com. The title of the article is “The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts”, and she discusses the concept of “digital sharecropping” and the lack of social media content control, in a slightly different tone than I am(I mean, come, come, now…who in all of the interwebs writes anything with the same tone or perspective as Owl?), but providing much of the same essence. She opens the composition of caution with this story I am reproducing here:

 

We have a great bookstore in my town — the kind of place you picture in your mind when you think of a great independent bookshop.

 

It’s perfect for browsing, with lots of comfy chairs to relax in. The books are displayed enticingly. There’s a little coffee shop so you can relax with an espresso. They get your favorite writers to come in for readings, so there’s always a sense of event and excitement.

 

They do everything right, and they have always had plenty of customers.

 

But they still closed their doors last year.

 

No, not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t Amazon that killed them, or the proliferation of free content on the web, or the crappy economy.

 

They closed the store because they were leasing their big, comfortable building … and when that lease ran out, their landlord tripled the rent.

 

Literally overnight, their business model quit working. Revenues simply wouldn’t exceed costs. A decision made by another party, one they had no control over, took a wonderful business and destroyed it.

 

And that’s precisely what you risk every day you make your business completely dependent on another company.

 

It might be Facebook. It might be eBay. It might be Google.

 

The analogy here is precise. Simone also provides tactics and strategies that I have implemented over the years, so, in closing I will add my own “also do” list here:

 

1:: Along with owning your own domain name and paying for your own hosting, continue to add the link to your site to all digital exchanges and content. You should be typing- or having automated- the words “Read more here…” until you earl.

 

2:: With an increased linking of your content, also back up all of your social media exchanges that might work as stand-alone content on your site, or just writings you wish to keep. For Asylum, I use ThinkUp and it plugs right into your online database, giving you absolute control over what is stored and when.

 

3:: The last tactic I am going to leave here is create a ratio that demands you to have more content on your own site than on any other. It is not wise to have more images of your product or service on Pinterest or Instagram than you have on your purchased domain, and regularly billed site. You are paying a recurring bill, act like it.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Twitter

It’s official—I hate Twitter again.

 

For quite some time I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Twitter, manic tweeting one minute, closing my account the next. I’ve been trying to figure out why I hate Twitter since early 2012. I think I may have finally figured it out: Groupthink.

While I cannot say Erykah Badu is the originator of the concept, I can thank her for this word’s rise in popularity; but maybe this is also why the act of “Groupthink” is also at an all-time high, especially on Twitter. With the “13 Holy War,” and the perpetually repetitive and depressing topics discussed via #BlackTwitter (amongst the many other volatile exchanges happening daily), it’s no wonder why I’ve left a shell of an account on Twitter. It’s all starting to remind me of church….and I cannot stand the concept of church (although I’ll visit if the mood calls for it).

 

“Don’t say that!” “You should speak on or fight for this cause.” “That’s too abrasive!” “You shouldn’t feel this way.” Really? How should I feel? Should I feel like you? Would that make you feel better about yourself, to have someone agree with your thoughts? Perhaps this is a form of insecurity, the desire to have others agree with your logic.

 

There is no longer room to just breathe and be on Twitter. Everything one says can be twisted, turned against a person, and is up for debate. But here’s the problem…I don’t feel the need to debate, nor do I feel the need to “explain” my feelings. I am beyond explaining myself to motherfuckers who are so offended and filled with anger that they wouldn’t understand my explanation anyway. I’m over it. I’m over the obligation Twitter, especially Black Twitter, places on people to be an “example,” a role model, and all of the above. I am no damn saint, I am no one’s role model, I am no one’s teacher, mentor, spokesperson or any of that shit.

 

Yes, you’re a Vegan, but you’re still an asshole.

In possession of a degree or two? Congratulations! You’re still an asshole.

You can spell, and must constantly prove your prowess by correcting the spelling and grammar of others. The only thing this proves…is that you’re an insecure asshole.

Yes, you have thousands of followers, but guess what? You’re still an asshole…a closed-minded asshole with dingle berries hanging from your anus.

And please, tell me, does being an asshole via Twitter pay well? I certainly hope so.

 

Ever feel that pit in your stomach when someone on Twitter starts a beef with you and calculate how long it takes to let that “upset” pass through your system? THAT angers me. Allowing a person on Twitter—who I’ll likely never meet, who hasn’t bought my music, supported my business, and may be a degenerate, little dicked dweeb or a low-budget crack whore in person—to have an effect on my mood angers ME more than anything, because then I am wasting energy and time trying to get back to my happy place, talking myself down with “it’s just Twitter.” But it ISN’T just Twitter! It’s people, from all over the world, clinging to your every word, adding meaning where there is sometimes none, and wanting to lecture you on how you should express yourself; and there is nothing I hate more than people trying to control my self-expression. Like I said, I don’t do church.

Our Son…

Editor’s Note: This is a piece written by our sister, friend, and Asylum Staff member, Nikki(she can be followed on Twitter under the handle, @Chey_Marly_mom).

 

Million Hoodie March - Streets Of NYC

 

Today is Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

 

If you had asked me this time last week who Trayvon Martin was I wouldn’t be able to answer. This is astounding considering his death occurred almost a month ago on February 26th. FEBRUARY 26th!!! Learning who Trayvon Martin was and the devastating events leading up to his murder these past few days, has filled me with immense anger and distress at the mere mention of the town in Florida (Sanford) where his lynching occurred, and the name of his murderer (George Zimmerman) who has yet to be arrested, or charged with the crime. Now that this story is finally making national headlines you can read and watch a barrage of articles and reports about the unjust laws that protect and support the assailants terrorist act against a defenseless teenager whose only offense was that he was black and male. However, it is not my intent to further acknowledge the offenders in this post. I’m here to speak briefly about Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of ancestor Trayvon Martin as well as the “A Million Hoodies March” that was held this evening in New York City’s Union Square Park which was mobilized via social media and grass roots organizers such as Color of Change (within a 24hr span, mind you). Actually, it seems to be just about 24hours between the time I read the first mention of the march on Twitter late afternoon yesterday, until the time I arrived downtown this evening, about 45 minutes prior to when thousands of others gathered on the steps of the park (already partially occupied by Wall Street protesters) wearing hoodies and carrying signs in protest of the tragedy. It was also yesterday evening that the matter and the unfolding details were brought to the attention of my 13yr old daughter who had many questions for which I had only difficult and mostly unsatisfactory answers to why a child was dead and how his killer remains free and still armed, with the discussion ultimately ending with her very matter of fact conclusion: “People should riot”.

 

Out of the mouths of babes, right? And what a difference a day makes…

 

At some point this morning shortly after I arrived to the workplace it became increasingly difficult for me to come up with a reason not to be at the “A Million Hoodies March”,( and not having a hoodie to wear wasn’t even a consideration). My conscience and highly engaging twitter TL which is usually the bane of my productivity wouldn’t allow me an excuse not to “do something”. Let me just say that I am not in any way claiming to be an “activist”. For all intents and purposes my activism has been limited to the rearing of my children. Which to me is by no means any less of a feat than those who organize as a career. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to participate and pay my respects to Trayvon by standing in solidarity with his mother and father who flew across states to New York City to attend this rally to express their appreciation of the efforts being made to not allow this case to be swept under the rug like so many others. This was the least I could do. No part of me ever wants to ever know the pain that Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton are feeling. I can’t help but wonder if I would be able to find the strength to address the media in the dignified manner that they have in recent days. Constantly replaying the torment of their loss with every inquiry. Could you? So, when Trayvon’s mother stepped up to the microphone this evening and stated that “Our son, is your son…” . I wept. I heard and felt the anguish in her voice. And it was then that I realized that every single person in that park (and those on social networks wearing hoodies in solidarity and sharing information about the case as it unfolds) was holding them up so that they can continue to seek justice for Trayvon and every other nameless, faceless, victim.

 

I ask you all in cities around the country to please show up for the family of Trayvon Martin if you can. If nothing else, they need us.

 

Our son’s killer is still free…

Asylum Rising: Aluta Continua…

“A culture can be likened to a quilt of intricate geometrical design in which all the many colored pieces, their shapes and stitches flow into one another, constitute the whole. This analogy is apt for yet a second reason. Often, the design on the upper side of the quilt is different from the undersurface pattern. Still, the undersurface design is essential for the outward surface appearance.” – Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, The Isis Papers(pg. 53)

 

The concern with simulated social environments is that practice over a digital medium is not exactly practice within an organic one. The major point of technology for Blacks shouldn’t be in attempting to be experts in doing that which they can do offline, but doing that which is being done by others that Afkans (Afrikan Amerikkkans) aren’t doing or can’t do in other spaces. I don’t very much need to watch Afkans stepping if I can walk around to the nearest pub or club and get lessons from a live source that will fundamentally be a better teacher. The mastery of technology for the sake of mastery over that technology should be the focus; not the further separation of humanity from humanity by means of technologically assisted socialcide. Even with my extreme affection for the technologically addictive, my world couldn’t function properly without offline interactions…

 

I suppose every now and again a thought crosses my mind…

The taste of a bitter wind passing through a blanket stapled over a window,

… the cringe of nerves as a police car passes mine from the rear;

… a sense of the obscure as thoughts of meals and places to sleep are left unanswered as the day passes.

How fast things can change when you place customs and conformity to the side for considerations of the faith based. No, I’m still Mr. ‘Tell Your God To Cough HIV Infected Organisms’, but a sense of the surreal and spiritual encompasses my life in such a way that I can’t deny the presence of a belief of loftier concerns than those attended by lesser minds. I lost my religion and converted to the faith of Black Man and Woman romantic relationships. I lost my religion and converted to the faith of human interaction beyond a screen. I did something remarkable with my hypocrisy last week: I actually acted on something I wrote about. I put my paranoia away and gave Love another shot at healing my wounds.

 

I didn’t realize how destructive my diet of sub sandwiches and chips had become over the last few months…

Or how much one can miss food when they haven’t been eating properly…

I can feel the chemistry of my body altering…

…the restoration of my Taqwa…

 

I know what the naysaying observers of those that live and embrace living will say. I’m not very much affected by the rumblings of the crowd when they boo my team as we grace the planet with our actions. When I find my Self at a loss for a word, I may scroll my Twitter screen up and down like one might twiddle their thumbs. It is fun to watch how fast empty words can become a blur at the flick of my thumb. As nothing is perfect in the eyes of a perfect being taught to swear by its imperfection, I do applaud my defense, and maintain a certain lock and key on the interactions of Owl and Brie. I’ve learned how to dance to the tempo of envious nights spent watering one’s soul with bitter updates and phone calls that leave ears aflame.

“So these powers realize that they’ve been pushed against the wall during recent years and the only weapon that they have against this force that has been pushing them against the wall is divide and conquer – the tactic that they’ve always used. So that, if I may finish, so that every area where you find people who have been colonized and oppressed today striving toward freedom, you find that whereas in the past they got along, today they’re fighting each other.” – Malcolm X, Bernice Bass interview December 27, 1964

Trauma: A deeply distressing experience. Emotional shock following a stressful event. From Greek, literally ‘wound’.

 

I sought reprieve from various corners and crooks. A fathom of imagination, a mistaken identity, an attempt to hold smoke formed in a bong…the elusive fumbles of a man not quite assured of what it is I sought exactly. The opaque yelling through the esophagus of a man buried in the caverns of his own mind can indeed by answered. I stand by the belief that a vibration is sent from the soul of hopes raped by insensitive liars in superhero attire to the outer realms of objective hopes inspired and actively engaged. Somewhere in a seedy coffee shop on St. Louis’ central west end, a poet saved my life.

 

I’ve thought a lot about the story, Owl’s Asylum. How do we tell it from here? How dark is my dark brown paint these days? How much brighter are my golden yellows? I’m not exactly sure how much darker I want the rest of the pages of Asylum to be. As we nurse Asylum back to health, I can see her smiling more. We’ve got many more authors to showcase, realities to expose, and Afkans to embrace. I’ve still got 99 million problems…but being without a home ain’t one.

 

“Functionally speaking, for the victims of white supremacy, this means to act in a s self/group-respecting and supporting manner in all areas of people activity, despite the specific conditions of racist domination and oppression. Submission to and cooperation with victimization and oppression are signs of individual or group mental illness or self-negation.” — Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, ibid.

 

When have any of our plans ever actually worked? We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose!” — Harry Potter in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, part 2(2011)

5 Things You Should Do Now To Preserve The Integrity Of Black Blogging

1. Hold Your Black Bloggers Up.

 

In many ways, the number reasons for lack of support of Black businesses, offline or online, is that Blacks don’t have a true sense of saving face, or creating their own icons. With an incentive to bolster the efforts of those that have shown a dedication, passion, and respect for craft, it could become a new movement in the Black community in the same way that gang culture and appreciation for the underground crime culture was able to infuse it Self nationwide. It is worthwhile to remember that Cornell West writes and teaches Marxist socialism but praised and was treated dismissively by Jay-Z. If we want better quality content in the media, we have to support those that produce it.

 

Treat your favorite bloggers like that guy who’s book you never read, class you’ve never attended, or lecture you would have fallen asleep in, but always quote at the water cooler after he appears on television. Make sure to let people know where you gleaned that insightful quote or perspective from. If you are in a position to hold conferences, get in contact with your favorite Black bloggers and see if there is a way to include them on the rostrum. Hold your Black bloggers of integrity and worth up in the same manner that some hold up irresponsible Black artists for being…well, irresponsible.

 

2. Don’t treat the donate button as a painting in (Some famous art gallery here), treat like an amusement park ride and become interactive with it.

 

This is a tough one for everybody going into another low economic season, I’m sure. But, it has to be written. Three bucks is enough to get me around the city to gain content, and don’t think that somebody else will do it, you do it. If you have gained anything from a Black blogger, reward that effort. If you don’t want people to sell out, then employ them through your charitable donations and investments. It often takes less than what we believe, if done as a united front.

 

A server and hosting account costs money. I owe $120 due to my host shortly. I can’t run Asylum on RTs alone(although, we do love them, too!). I’m sure I’m not the only great Black blogger of honorable character that you read in the same situation. Facebook, MySpace, even Google are financed by others. This is simply the nature of things. It is difficult for me to respect the hurling of words regarding supporting Blacks, if you aren’t…supporting Blacks(I do so love that device). If you find someone doing that which is beneficial and necessary, don’t automatically assume they’ve got all of their bases covered. Many great organizations might still be around had it not been for beneficiaries overlooking areas of financial interest they could have easily contributed to. Every free service online is being paid for by somebody. It isn’t free to be on the internet. Consider that the next time you scroll by your favorite Black blogger’s donate now button.

 

3. Break out of the social media comfort zone and actually post a comment on the blog and not on Twitter/Facebook.

 

The comment button works, guys. Well, it usually works. And when it doesn’t, please contact me, as Asylum has a great technical staff. I’m sure I’m not only talking for my Self here. Every Black blogger that you respect has the potential to become a thriving community. Twitter and Facebook are only websites, only web applications, only another medium. Yes, I still haven’t stopped having sex with Twitter, but I know she’s just another whore on the strip. These websites that are being driven by the content of Black people with things of interests to you should be come a home;they should be like the housewife of your browsing routine. The same community that is built on a Twitter can be furnished here. The debates that occur on Twitter in 140, would be much better served in the Black blogospheres’ comment sections.

 

4. Diversify.

 

We aren’t all on the same team, we don’t shoot at the same cans in the alley, and we shouldn’t be forced to play nice in your bookmarks folder. Black bloggers come in various shapes and sizes, trust me, I’ve seen a few naked, I know what I’m talking about here. Don’t place me in the same folder as @RippDemUp(click here as well), I love the brother, and so does Asylum, but what he does for you is not necessarily the same gift you should expect from these parts. Black people, especially young Blacks that were programmed by hip hop to view most everything as a sporting competition, have an indeed troubling cultural expression of thinking all cultural expressions should be pitted against another another. I don’t have to take sides. I like reading the blogs of very polar thinkers, comparably, as well as extremely shallow writers that never take a determined stance on issues. Mix up your reading, expand your mind.

 

5. Spread love the interweb way: post the links to the content elsewhere.

 

Share the love with your Twitter following. Use the link to one of your favorite Asylum posts as content for discussion in your g+ circles. Impress your family and friends with your interweb resourcefulness. Use a portion of the article and a link to gain notoriety on one of your most frequented forums. However you do it, help those Black bloggers that show their integrity and dedication by connecting them to the web more. It doesn’t take much to copy and paste the web address from the URL. If you ever need any assistance with technical matters of that sort, don’t be afraid to contact me for support. We here at Asylum are humbled and honored to gain link love from our followers and allies.

 

Furthermore, we often find our Selves borrowing, stealing or gleaning inspiration from one another in this field. It is of the utmost importance that we learn to give credit when we do such. I may not place an ‘@’ sign in front of every disparaging word, but I’ve made it my business to acknowledge directly and publicly all those that have assisted in my growth. This is regardless of whether they know or not. I am making them know that they have.

Asylum Rising: Imani

Sometimes you can live so much for others, that you forget to serve the one master that should have been fed first. Don’t think for a second that the repercussion that follows such a grievous act isn’t without a desire to kick, scream, and yell. As I sit next to this space heater in the room of a fairly dilapidated building owned by an associate of my cousin, I wonder where all my damn close friends went. And I suppose the tough guys out there reading this are going to feel the comfort of their homes and laugh; or consider their space and begin to tear it apart for some invidious comparison to hurl my way. Ultimately, I have two hoodies to venture out into a St. Louis snow covered scenery to walk to grab something to eat and a computer to type my story into. Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.

 

Alas, that peace can be easily disturbed, but given the circumstances, that is a might grand and favorable position for me to be in. Throughout 2011, I had to question the reality of fate. I had never seriously given it much thought, and until I felt the pressures of a world that simply wouldn’t bend to my will, I began asking my Self certain questions. Now, I’m much more hopeful, and much more wiser for the incidents of 2011, yet, I’m only so sure that fate or predestination doesn’t exist. I’m also questioning my attachment to this Black race, or Afkan people, that I find my Self shackled hand and foot with. I understand that many of us have our perceptions of what an expression of Black Love -outside and inside Black romantic love(of course)- should be. And I can hear the rally of fierce warriors banging the beast yet the head never bleeds, at least none of the blood seems to be trickling or flowing near my seat here in the streets. What do you love? What sort of love is it? It must be the blind type because I can’t see it, and let’s be honest, since I’ve been homeless, most Afkans(Afrikan Amerikans) can’t see me. To be fully candid, if it weren’t for my trumpeting through Black Twitter, you would have never noticed this Black media analyst named “Owl”.

 

I don’t know what it feels like to be alienated by the same people you have spent years assisting from the vantage of your body, but from mine it feels like being that lone booger sitting atop the public transit seat’s rail. I accept the story as we are telling it. Sure, let’s all be accountable for our actions that may hurt one another. Unless, big unless…hold on let me break out my typography skills here…UNLESS,(there you go…) you are a guy with millions of dollars that can make songs about big pimping and girls, girls, girls, and you won’t have to stand and face the court of public assholery(coined it first!). If one finds them Self being THAT guy, well, you can wait until you are in your forties and making music to keep you relevant with an ode to your new born daughter(wasn’t American Gangster the “soundtrack” he came up with the last time he was “inspired”?) to decide to realize that,”Hey, women don’t like being called ‘bitches’ do they? Let’s stop that then…”

 

Chagrin.

 

I’m not here to play with anyone’s intelligence. I’m not in the position to play public executioner or holier than thou Black legislator of all things Afkanian(“Afkanian”…hold on, I…like the sound of that…anywho…). I’m a man living way too many lives in one lifespan and taking the abuses that would come with that from Karma if I so chose to believe that such an evil bitch existed. I don’t know if I’m more upset because I probably deserve to be living this lifestyle due to so many unbalanced and inconsiderate decisions made prior; or because of all the extremely balanced and noble deeds that I’ve done that I will possibly die unhonored for. I had to rethink a statement I typed into the Black Twitter box of my Tweetdeck yesterday when responding to Brie…well, you know her as B. Sharise Moore(her name Brie to me). Eldridge Cleaver did more with his time as a person wrestling with the harshest of conscientious demons than I have without them. I should be honored to be compared as a writer, to a brother like that. I still stand by my story regarding being the first Owl, however, sure…but, people will be people. In the world that I live in, I wish there were more brothers like him after his pathologies were controlled floating around. After all the “Uhuru’s” and Kwanzaa decorations begin to fade in the memory of our yesteryear, it was a White man that retired from Elvis impersonations that allowed your Asylum’s captain room and board on St. Louis’ west side. Yeah, tell that to my immaturity as I drug it down a corridor to be executed project’s style.

 

I believe it is too easy for us to say we love Black people from the comforts of couches tilted at an angle that allows that noonday glare to be avoided while watching our favorite football teams on flatscreen televisions. Many of us are too busy attempting to look busy while the work of heroes is being recorded in front of a live Twitter audience. Obviously, no one owes me anything; or they are just not willing to pay. I do ask that those that speak of changes to be made for those like my Self be accurate in their content and respectful in their tone. No, you have never had a nightmare about running away from a place that would scare me. My better days are still a bitter taste. I don’t have a problem with the romantics. I actually applaud the spirit’s ability to exist in an Afkan body given our trajectory. Yet, so many of us fail to remember in our hours of boasting of stripes earned on civil battlefields that most of us weren’t volunteers;most of us were drafted. Such is life.

 

I did a bit of work this week for an elderly Black woman, that stays around over in North city St. Louis. Actually a block up from Mason elementary school(which is a pretty awesome school, well it was when I was taking my ex’s children up there). One of those very insular St. Louis neighborhoods where the teenage babies are left to their own devices, so elderly Black women ought to be concerned about their safety. Enough foreshadowing…so, she asks me to grab some wood from University City for her stove to heat her house since thieves had stolen her copper and aluminum piping and what have you. Of course, I agreed. I saw it as an opportunity for various things, and she was a connect of a connect, you know? Now, mind you, the connect had initially connected us so that I might be able to work around her house and be allowed to use one of her free rooms. It didn’t work out like that, but she still needed someone to work around the house. Faith amongst one another is one of those ethnic things that got lost when the Afkans got born through all those forced sexual engagements and rapes, you know?

 

I rode around with the sister and we collected the wood, enough to overfill the 4 x 4 bed that was used to haul the wood form U City’s recreational department to the elderly woman’s home. Once back, I unloaded the wood, and stacked it in reasonably ordered way. As noted, I only have two hoodies, neither zips up, so, I’m working to get through the process at a certain point. And although the work was less than a chore really for me, it does go back to certain principles. I walked away with less than promised, I felt the ripple of the bridge as the flames began to consume it, and I felt like,”what did I do wrong here?” Nothing. I could make really drastic demands on a woman old enough to be the grandmother I just buried, or I could be me and chalk it up to an opened hand developing arthritis. You know?

 

Now, that was all on the 11th of January. Today, I wake up and roll over, press the plastic sheet used to insulate the window in the room I’ve been afforded up to the window pane, so as to see outside. The echo of the thought must have been heard as I felt the window creak and shake a bit. “No” couldn’t have been screamed louder by an Arab in US military custody. I looked at the snow, and I got up, turned the space heater towards the desk, and began my day of research and uploading content to the various web sites I’m developing. I ventured through Twitter, and around midday, our good friend from the western states, Writer Randolph wrote some interesting commentary. Being a fairly astute student of hoodthropology, I recognized the tone of his salutation as what it was: damn reckless. My first emotional response was laughter. You know? Twitter is an interesting place to talk with a certain bravado. I thought to my Self, “what would anything matter here in this space? I can’t swing at you and you can’t swing at me, yet you are writing in a tone that suggests somewhat differently.” I gave in and told him that I had disagreements with a post of his, and that I had responded via Asylum. He made notions about his dedication to the Black race, his world renown stance of not being a “Tom”, and hurled a few insults about me not being a man for not using his name after he quoted me using his name(read it again and I promise it will make sense in the morning).

 

I didn’t want to hassle with it. I got a little heated, knocked off a few lines of code and ventured across the street to King Omawali and Makeda’s house. I let Makeda spin me about web sites and logo prices, and then I got bored with that. So, now I’m here. 1693 words later I’ve still got to figure out how to get child support payments in the mail, a new coat, legal fees covered, phone bill paid, and a decent haircut(stop laughing, goatees have to be trimmed professionally, too) before I fly out to join Brie(we already did the “you guys call her thing”, right? Cool.) My problems are a little larger than Twitter. I’m a little larger than Twitter. So should you be.

 

Homelessness didn’t break my wherewithal. It didn’t fashion any weakness onto my character. In some ways it made me more willing to allow pawns to become queens for kings that think they can’t be seen. I can’t say what will happen when Writer Randolph and I meet face to face and these words we have shared have to find a rectification. It is a shame that we can’t somehow behave better than 19 year old gang bangers; especially given the violence and pain of both of our histories. But, I’m in a better place now. At the moment I’m extremely happy with now. So, we’ll see about then when we get there.

 

Where Black people choose to go is solely on the guidance and direction of leaders such as my Self and your Self. I’ve never seen a group of people that didn’t have factions and cliques. I’ve reserved within my Self to deal with my portion of influence over Akfans. Come what may…

 

Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.

 

Hey, Brie…