Tag Archives: Seth and Ray

Music For Your Ears (And Eyes)

17 Mar

Seth: I don’t know if I’m late, but on my drive home last week I heard a song, Somebody Come Get Me, by Melanie Fiona. If you haven’t heard the song, check it out. This is her, apparently in someone’s backyard with no track or instrumentation. She sounds good to me.

I recently saw the movie Shutter Island, and this song by Dinah Washington runs during the credits. It’s not the original music, but I think the update (and adaptation to the film) does her voice and the lyrics justice. If you haven’t seen the film, please do. I highly recommend it.

Lastly, a song by U2 entitled Staring at the Sun, in honor of the beautiful weather here in Philadelphia.

Gary Coleman Does What I Would Have Done

19 Feb

Gary Coleman

Ray: I love Gary Coleman and even more so for this…

I hate how the media tries to slander folks. Obviously Gary Coleman was in the right. No adult should face that type of interrogation from another adult unless they’re being investigating by authorities for criminal activity. Gary Coleman doesn’t owe that lady anything. For her to come at him so disrespectfully, I applaud him for not ripping the set apart.

What’s even funnier is the doctor who said that he would recommend medication for Gary. I wonder how many celebrities refer to a doctor like that. These types of shows only hire the scum of Hollywood; a bunch of meaningless individuals who get paid to talk about people who are actually doing something. Thanks Mr. Coleman for doing what I would have done.

What Ever Happened to D’Angelo?

9 Feb


Real name, Michael Eugene Archer. But far as we’re concerned, his name is D’Angelo. One of the rare artists who can write, sing, and perform his own music (on many instruments). A true gift to music fans everywhere. He has one of those voices that you can’t easily forget about. Although many will compare him to Prince (and rightfully so), his style of music is utterly different from many of his predecessors.

D’Angelo is a product of Virginia, a state who also claims major artists such as Timbaland, Missy, the Neptunes, the Clipse, and my beloved Amerie (along with a host of other artists).  D’Angelo is formerly categorized as an R&B or Neo Soul artist. It’s hard to believe this his first album Brown Sugar dropped waaaay back in 1995. That classic album is full of hits like,  “Brown Sugar”. “Lady”, and “Me and Those Dreamy Eyes of Mine”.  Although the album never had #1 status, it ended up selling more than 2 Million copies.

Fast forward 5 years to the year 2000 when D’Angelo released his second album Voodoo. This album did end up going #1 in the US and sold 1 Million copies. More importantly, I believe this album captures a man at the peak of his musical creativity. Although album sales can largely be attributed to a very risky video (as seen below), people who listened to each song were treated to an explosion of sound, soul, and passion. Voodoo is one of my favorite albums of all time. That’s why it was saddening to learn of D’Angelo’s alcohol and/or drug abuse issues following the release of this classic album.

D’Angelo has appeared on several songs since releasing Voodoo back in 2000 but has not released another album. Rumor has it that there is another album in the works but many are unsure if it will ever be released. Nonetheless, the music that has come out over the years is as potent today as it ever was. We miss D’Angelo.

– Ray



“Africa (Acoustic Version)”

Thoughts on CNN presents “Black in America” by Nadine Mompremier

28 Jul

Nadine: CNN presents “Black in America.” A three-part series that premiered in April with a discussion on Martin Luther King’s legacy and continues this month with a special on the Black Man, the Black Woman, and the Black Family. CNN has done a great job promoting the shows through their website and through various television previews. http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/black.in.america/. On YouTube, there are clips of some of the interviews that Soledad O’Brian did for the show. The series is a great concept because it requires people to actually question and address the issues that black people face every day. It discusses those issues that people are afraid to talk about; the actual reality of the “black crisis” or whatever you want to call it. I am not going to comment on what was discussed on the shows, but I think EVERYONE should take the time out to watch it (check the schedules here http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/weekday.html).

As an educated individual, most of the statistics and facts stated concerning high school drop out rates, single parent homes, and economic conditions are familiar to me. As concerned citizens, they should be familiar to you too. For me, the thing that bothers me the most is that this had to be shown on CNN for people to start paying attention. I understand it’s about awareness and something needed to be said but some would argue that the special was unnecessary. In way, it gives the illusion that black people are whining and that they bring these social ills on themselves.

Others would say that the system is not perfect and it is made to make sure that black people cannot rise and be successful. Honestly, it’s a discussion that will go on for years and years because the problems that black people face are not going away any time soon. The black men that are in prison, the children that have been raised with no fathers, the education gap between blacks and whites, the higher education gap between black women and black men, etc. They are not going to disappear and it is a sad reality that we must face and do something about.

But what happens now? Are non-blacks supposed to feel sorry for black people everywhere because of this show? Are people going to start paying attention? Clearly the people that the series focuses on the most won’t see it because they’re in jails, they’re on welfare, and they’re probably not watching CNN. So it becomes a question as of what are you going to do for your community-if anything at all?

This series was a year-long research for O’Brian who does special investigations for CNN. But now what? You’ve investigated, you’ve bought awareness, and your program has aired, so what do you do now? You continue to do your special investigations that are a part of your job. Why didn’t she bring this special to BET or TVOne to attract black people to watch this? Who was the intended audience other than us-educated black individuals?

And just a final thought- don’t you think that this is ironic also? A black man will receive the democratic nomination for president a month after this program airs. Now are people going to watch these programs, look at the plight of the black man and the black family and say “Hey, he made it. He beat the statistics. He has a family, and he’s taking care of his children, etc. etc. etc. so I’m going to vote for him?” Bull****! Sorry but that’s bull****.

But you know what, it’s going to happen. And after it does happen, people will finally think its okay and everything is fine and Blacks and non-Blacks will be equal in America. Obviously, as educated individuals we know better. For those who don’t, they will stop trying to achieve. They won’t aim for anything more. And they won’t see the problems and race issues that will continue to persist despite who is elected into office. Tavis Smiley said it best, “If you were uneducated, jobless, and poor on November 3rd, you will still be uneducated, jobless, and poor on November 5th after Barack Obama has been elected.” Let’s just hope that people do not use these programs and this election to ignore the reality that many face each and every day of their lives.

Barack Obama Get’s Serious at Unity ’08

28 Jul

Ray: Barack Obama is asked many questions in which he gives substantive responses concerning his proposed policy. This was one of the better conversations I’ve seen him have with journalists. For all those who say that Barack Obama does not have concrete views on anything, or for those who wish to have a better understanding of his political philosophy, please watch these clips:

Mortal Kombat – The Execution Move You Never Saw

24 Jul

Ray: This won’t make you smarter, but it’s funny to me. Who remembers playing Mortal Kombat on Sega? I do!!! My friends and I used to play for hours. It was a great way to bond. Those were the days… Anyways, here’s a little spin on the classic video game. Enjoy.

Ray’s Top Side Hustles – A Few Ways to Earn Extra Money

24 Jul

Ray: If times are hard for a pimp, then it must be extra hard for the ordinary working person. Money is tight these days and everyone is looking for ways to stretch their dollars. But as the great poet Sean Carter once said, “Whenever there’s a drought, get your umbrellas out because that’s when I brain storm.” By all means, use your own imagination to find ideas to make more money but here are some of mine…

1. Become A Security Guard – If you have the time, size, and the energy for it, then taking a part-time job as a security guard can be a great way to add some extra income. The hours are extremely flexible and the pay is fairly reasonable. You can find these jobs by performing a Google search for security companies in your area. Or, you can also approach local bars and night clubs and ask the manager if they are in need of security. You can expect to earn about $12-20 dollars an hour. If this is indeed something you want to do, you will also want to strongly consider getting a guard card to solidify your chances of getting work.

2. Vending Machines – For some reason, people love the idea of owning vending machines. First, you will want to buy new machines or machines that have been in use for a less than 2 years. Make sure that the machines are in great operating condition and that the prices can be easily adjusted. The typical vending machines are for Snacks, Beverages, or a combination of both. However, there are many other new types of machines coming out all the time. Plan to spend anywhere from $1,500-4,000 per machine.

Next, you will need to secure a location. In fact, you may even want to secure a location before you make the initial investment for the machines. Make sure that the location you choose has great traffic. Corporate offices, junk yards, school yards, the dentist office, etc. All these are great locations to set up shop. Avoid splitting any income with whoever hosts your machines. You are providing a service and they should be happy to have your machine there! Keeping your machines fully stocked will be the biggest challenge but if you’re in the right location with the right machines, you can easily add a few hundred dollars per month to your net income with a couple machines.

3. Become a TV/Movie Extra – This typically applies to people living in New York or Los Angeles where most filming takes place, but surprisingly there are many opportunities all over the US. Becoming an extra is fairly easy. Find an agency, pay a small association fee (maybe $60-100), and keep your cell phone on. When you do get called to make an appearance, show up on time! Taping can last from 4-12 hours so make sure that your schedule is open for filming. One more major thing to remember is NEVER talk to the stars unless they talk to you first! That’s the fastest way to end your Hollywood career. Extras usually earn about $60-200 per taping. Plus you get to tell everyone to watch the television really hard and look for the guy thats walking around in the background. But be careful. If you blink, you might miss your performance.

4. Become a Writer – If you have a talent for writing, you may want to consider using that talent to make a few extra dollars. Small and large businesses are looking for writers all the time. You can write for blogs, newspapers, magazines, scripts, grants, or even go as far as writing a book and publishing it yourself. For freelance writing, a great place to find gigs is at Craigslist.com or Elance.com. Depending on how well you write and who you write for, writing can be a very lucrative business. Some blogs earn writers more than $100,000 a year. And if you write the next Harry Potter, you can even become a Billionaire.

5. Buy and Hold Stocks -Out of all of these options, this is the only one geared towards a long-term perspective. Long-term investing is usually far better than short-term investing. With the economy in a down cycle, the rich man sees a great opportunity to buy stocks at bargain prices. Name your favorite company. Chances are, their stock price is much lower than is was 4 years ago. Now is a great time to buy stock in proven companies while their prices are relatively low. Plan to hold these stocks for at least 5 years. I strongly recommend that people begin their stock purchasing programs at Sharebuilder.com. I have used it for several years and it has helped me build a stock portfolio that will some day allow me to retire and move to Brazil to live my last days in the Amazon. But that’s another story for another time…