Stirring the Mind into Thought

Painting by Alex Grey

“We belong together; we are connected; we heal when we integrate different parts into one whole…” – You Belong (

Although I am not religious (I am spiritual), my mom is and so I go to church with her every Sunday. One Sunday, a preacher said how God is not a spirit, but spirit in itself, an all encompassing spirit. He also said that God was not created, he was always there. The invisible made the visible; the unseen made the seen. What he said resulted in two questions for me — how does this connect to science? How does religion in general connect to science?

Well, what is spirit? Often we hear how someone has a lot of spirit and cheerleaders are called the spirit squad. They both refer to people who seem to have a lot of energy or who energize others. So, spirit is basically energy, which would mean God is energy!

Now let’s connect this to science–

Albert Einstein presented us with the formula E= MC2, which is energy equals mass (matter) times the speed of light squared. Another formula that is derived from his formula is M=E/C2, mass (matter) equals energy divided by the speed of light squared. Basically, energy is created by having mass move at the speed of light and mass is created by having energy slowed down. It would take a lot of energy to match the fast speed of light in order to create the amount of visible matter we have. What could that large amount of energy be — God!

Think of it in terms of the states of matter: gas, liquid, solid. Gas is made of particles (molecules) moving at a rapid rate, liquid is made of particles moving at a moderate rate and solid is made of particles moving at a slow rate. The particles in a solid are moving, just so slow that they look like they are not and they are visible. On the other hand, a gas is usually not visible. The gas particles can be slowed down to form the solid. The invisible makes the visible, the unseen makes the seen. Energy as well as the universal forces together create matter.

Also, in Chemistry and Physics, we learned that energy and matter can not be created nor destroyed, only transfered or transformed within a closed system, the Law of Conservation of Energy and Mass. If energy creates mass and energy cannot be destroyed but transformed or transferred, that means it was always there. Energy could not be created if it was always there, therefore, it fits with what the preacher said.

Light energy, sound energy, chemical energy, physical energy, heat energy, kinetic energy and others can transformed into another.

That would also mean we are all transformed energy. So, God is in all of us. Einstein did states in his theory of relativity that matter and energy are the same, which is seen in his formula E=m/c2. It would also explain the idea of reincarnation and its connection to life cycles, like nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle. Just look at the carbon cycle:

In essence, we can be reincarnated into different things because when something dies, it is reused by the earth and everything else in the world.

This brings us to another debate between science and religions — creationism vs. the big bang theory. Watch the video below from a Nigerian physicist and professor named Gabriel Oyibo, who theorizes how the book of Genesis in the Bible, Egyptian mythology and the Big Bang relate to one other. For example, he says how God speaking the universe into existence and the Big Bang, which is an onomatopoeia, both refer to sound waves or energy creating the universe. I do not know if everything he says is true, especially on the math part (there is some controversy involving him), but it is interesting to think about…

God Almighty\’s Grand Unified Theorem

P.S. If you ask how can God’s voice be a bang, first of all how do you know what God sound like and second, if he is loud enough, it would sound like one. Ha Ha. All I ask is that we consider how everything in our world is connected, including the things we believe and study…

Until Next Time…

February 6th, 2011 at 5:43 PM and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  | Comments Off on We Are All Connected 2: Science and Spirituality Go Hand In Hand | Permalink

“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Often I think too many of us are focused on what makes us different instead of seeing what makes us the same within all those differences and how we are all connected; everything we do as individual affects everything in the world directly and indirectly. So for my next few posts I will be focusing on this…

February 5th, 2011 at 5:17 PM and tagged , , , ,  | Comments Off on We Are All Connected Part 1 | Permalink

I’m learning to breathe

To trust in the universe

All will work out fine

December 28th, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Comments Off on Letting Go Haiku | Permalink

Next stop is your stop

There is always someone to

Take your empty seat.

December 21st, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Comments Off on On the Bus… Haiku | Permalink

You got the wind in you

Sometimes you were a breeze

That gently pressed against me

Softly caressing and kissing each

And every space on my body

Even the ones I kept hidden

Easily seeping into me

Quietly passing through

Or you were that whirlwhind

Making your thunderous entrance

A swiftly sweeping motion

And I was taken up without

Even a chance to catch my breath

Completely engulfing me

And it still saddens me that I

Never saw all of who you were

Nor could I ever hold on to you

As you left to anoint another.

August 7th, 2010 at 8:40 AM | Comments Off on You Got The Wind In You | Permalink

With the verdict given yesterday in the Oscar Grant case in which the officer, Johannes Mershelee who shot Grant in the back while handcuffed, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, I felt compelled to write this.

When you hear rappers or bands (NWA, Dead Prez, Rage Against the Machine, Bone, Thugs-n-Harmony, J Dilla, Ice-T, etc.) say F*** the Police, there is a reason behind it. Black People, and even other people of color, have never had a positive relationship with the police. For some people who may live in a bubble, they think the police is there to serve and protect them, but for the majority of people of color, it is more of living in a police state where they treat us like criminals before we even do anything. In the eyes of the cops and even America, we are guilty until proven innocent. Police officers usually come at us in a very hostile manner first and we either comply or get hostile back. When it comes to us, the police are rarely reasonable; they see us as attacking them even if we are not. So, even if there are good cops out there or those who are trying to do the right thing, the rest of the bad bunch ruin it for them. What makes it even worse is that some of the so-called good cops will stand up for the bad cops or remain quiet in solidarity or fear even when an injustice has occurred. You know cause cops are there to “serve and protect.”

So let me give you a little historical background on our relationship with the police. During slavery, when slaves tried running away, they had dogs and slave owners chasing them. They were told that they had drapetomania because they could not see any reason why a slave would run away (rolls eyes). When slavery ended, the same white people who owned them need another way to control black people. This where localized police departments and forces come in. Before, there was no such thing as police departments, only national militias, but with giving black people their freedom meant fear of retaliation for white owners. So, coming up with the stereotypes of black criminality, black rage, and black hyper-sexuality to create a fear of black people in general led to local police departments, Jim Crow laws and even the rise of the KKK again. Just watch the movie, DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, to understand further (below).

watch?v=vPxRIF1c2fI and

Black Wall Street- Tulsa Riots- Gathering of Deputies and Black Wall Street- Tulsa Riots-Arrest and Confinement Videos

This combination of black fear and black criminality has been around for almost 150 years! As Beauty Nubian from twitter said in her blog post (thoughts-on-police-and-policing and her experience with a cop), for black people, some of the same people who had badges on by day, wore white robes (KKK) at night. While black people have suffered lynching, murders, assassinations, beatings, houses burned down and other horrendous acts, many of the police turned away and refused to arrest those involved. In fact, many times they were the ones involved. It has taken decades for many of these cases to be tried in court and by them many of the perpetrators are dead. Most of the cases still remain cold. To the justice system, a black life meant nothing, but if a black person murdered a white person, a death penalty was knocking at his or her door. These injustices were the norm and still continue today.

So, when I look at a story like the Seattle cop punching a teenage black girl, I am looking at it from a historical perspective. Yes, the girls should not have reacted in the way they did and our community need to learn how to react when police approach them for our own safety. However, I also know that the police have been known to attack us in a violent matter for no reason or a very little reason. They react in an irrational manner and with an irrational fear. Remember, these are teenage girls, not big strong men. The cop even later said that he was aggressive because he felt that he was going to be attacked by the crowd, but if you look at the video, the crowd was calm and trying to keep the incident from escalating. I felt as if he could have handled things a whole lot better, but he did not. If this was a teenage white female, I doubt he would have reacted in the same way and my knowledge of racism and media stereotypes of black people give me that feeling. If he was a regular guy on the street, he would have been charged with assaulting a female. However, since he is a cop, he should not get some sort of punishment (whether that is more police training or a few days without pay) or give an apology too for overreacting as the girl had too. This would show a sign of mutual respect.

He is one of many cops who feel as if their authority excuses them from punishment. Every time a cop does something like this, it is called a “justifiable homicide” or a “justifiable assault.” I am starting to hate those phrases because it implies that a police officer can do no wrong. A police officer is human too and not every time is he or she innocent or only a little bit guilty. And if you need more proof of how I feel, here is a list of incidents involving police brutality:

1)   Move Organization: In the 1970s, a commune including people who lived a back-to-nature lifestyle, were against technology and wore dreadlocks, were continuously harassed by cops. Their home was raided upon twice and the second time, cops tear-gassed it and dropped a bomb, killing 11 (including children). Over sixty other homes in the neighborhood were destroyed by the resulting fires. There still has been no retribution for what happened. Documentary: watch?v=PeTk2b96qE8&feature=related

2)   Anthony Kyser: He had allegedly shoplifted crayons and toothpaste and was kicked out of CVS. An employee followed him out and began choking him until he died. There was an on-duty sheriff, but he did absolutely nothing to stop what was happening. anthony-kyser-cvs-shoplif_n_575063.html

3)   Otto Zehm: He was a mentally challenged janitor who went to get a few items at a local store. Then he was handcuffed by cops, beaten and tasered. Zehm died two days later from injuries. remembering-otto-zehm

4) Jonny Gammage: He was driving his cousin’s car when the police stopped him and pulled him out the car. Then they proceeded in beating him and one stepped on his neck and chest, which suffocated him. He died right on the scene. fact-sheet-new.html

5) Kathryn Johnson: A 92-year-old was the victim of a drug raid and a no-knock arrest warrant. Although cops claimed they had the right house, in actuality they were wrong. Kathryn thought someone was breaking into her house, so she pulled out her weapon and cops began to shoot at her. They left her handcuffed bleeding to death. sentencing-for-cops-who-killed

6) Walter Harvin: He was an Iraq War Veteran and going to see his mother. He did not have a key, so the police handcuffed him. However, the police continuously beat him with a baton (at least 20 times) even after he was subdued. iraq-veteran-beating-tape_n_620853.html

7) Amadou Diallo: He was shot forty-one times by four plain-clothed cops. The cops claimed that he fit the profile of a rapist (who was later caught) and told him they were police. Diallo ran and one of the cops tripped, setting of a gun, as they chased after him. Diallo also had pulled out a wallet, which the cops mistook as a gun. One thing led to another and he was shot, nineteen bullets hitting and killing him. Officers were acquitted, but this case peaked the interest of racial profiling and police brutality and overreaction (contagious shooting in which one cop shoots and other follow him). nypd

8 ) Joshua Daniel Ortiz: In Florida, he was beaten in an elevator and then received a broken nose and a misdemeanor assault charge. Luckily, due to the video, the charges were dropped. MI114633

9) Jordan Miles: The honors students, arts student and violinists, was approached by three police and beaten up (including one of his dreadlocks being ripped out) as he was walking to his grandmother’s home at night. The police claimed that they mistook a bottle for a gun, but Miles said he did not have anything on him.jordan-miles-pittsburgh and jordan-miles-police-brutality

10) Reginald Latson: This teenager has Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) and he likes to walk. So, early one morning, he went for a walk to the library and sat outside under a tree. Someone in a school nearby saw him and called the police saying there was a suspicious person outside the library and that he possibly had a gun (cause everyone knows that black people always have guns). Eight nearby schools were put on lockdown, while policed looked for Latson. Latson had already began walking away because he was tired of waiting for the library to open. When police approached him, Latson said he complied with the search but no gun was found and police say he attacked them. However, Latson says he was attacked first. He was arrested and is now facing charges. teen-with-aspergers-arres_b_610530.html

11) Aiyanna Jones: The 7-year-old was sleeping in her bed, when, as a result of a no-knock arrest, she was killed by a cop’s gun. The police were after a relative who had murdered a teenager a few days before. Also, on site was the A&E show 48 hours. Witnesses say the police overreacted because the cameras were there, throwing a flashbomb into the house and then firing shots, two of which hit Aiyanna in the head and neck killing her. The cop tried to say that his gun went off by accident, but proof shows that there is very little chance that the shot would have hit her by accident. There is a petition online to release the video of what happened from 48 hrs. 100601005 and petition: aiyanajones

12) Lt. Burge: After two decades of torturing hundreds of black men in Chicago, this cop was finally charged with it, even after the statues of limitations had passed. chicago-cop-goes-on-trial-for-torturing-black-men

13) New Orleans cops: Cops in New Orleans are know to be corrupt and have assaulted and murdered people. One such case is the one that happened post-Katrina, in which five cops shot and killed a man and burn his body. Finally, they were arrested and charged with his murder. wireStory?id=10891438

14) Brandon Johnson: The 15-year-old was beaten in Indianapolis after he was already subdued by other cops. He was repeatedly struck in the face and ended up with bruises and a black eye. police-gone-wild-15-year-old-catches.html

15) Melanie Williams: She was pregnant and started bleeding, so she called 911. Afraid she would lose the baby, she decided to drive herself to the hospital. In a hurry, she passed a red light and was stopped by a cop. Instead of escorting her to the hospital like a decent gentleman, he made her wait to get a ticket. Williams drove off and the cop followed her. He rushed in after her in the hospital, tackled her to the floor and stepped on her neck. Then he placed her in the cop car. Fortunately, she was able to get medical help and had the baby 10 days later. top_5_police_blunders_of_the_w_24.php

16) Usman Chaudhry: The 21-year old Pakistani was shot multiple times and killed for carrying a knife, but he was handcuffed when the coroner examined his body. The family was not told about his death until 21 days later.  72157605777928496 and 005273.html

17) Lona Varner: An 86-year-old grandma was tasered by the police in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose after her grandson called 911 for medical assistance. The police officer claimed that she “took a more aggressive posture in her bed.” The officers even handcuffed her grandson when he told them to not taser his grandma. 28330.htm

18) Bernard Monroe: The 73 year-old was shot in front of his home in Louisiana. Monroe was voiceless due to cancer and witnesses said he had no weapon even though police claim he had one no-trial-for-white-cop-who-murdered.html

19) Alonzo Hayward: A mentally challenged man was shot at 59 times by police, 43 actually hitting his body. Alonzo was drinking beforehand and was suicidal holding a shotgun in his hand. In this situation, one would think that the cops knew how to handle a situation like that without killing the man. He did not need to be shot that many times to stop him. us_news-crime_and_courts

20) Oscar Grant: Last year, Oscar Grant along with his friends were subdued by cops in a subway station for involvement in a fight on New Years Eve. The cops had Oscar handcuffed and flat on the ground when Merhsellee came and decided to pull out a gun a shoot Oscar in the back. Oscar screamed “You Shot Me” and was pronounced dead the next morning. Merhselee claimed that he was confused between his “yellow” taser and “black” gun. However, if Oscar was already on the ground and handcuffed, there was no need to use either. Also, Mershellee was known to have a violent past with people he came in contact with (he beat a 41 year old just 6 weeks before), but that was left out of trials. Yesterday, he was found guilty, but only on criminal negligent involuntary manslaughter with possible gun enhancement charge. People all over are visibly angered by the decision of the jury, in which all the black people who were going to be on it were forced off because of some “bias”, while half of the jury had police members in their family. Video: watch?v=UXqGT74vBKk and photo of Mehserle holding the yellow taser taken by Oscar Grant mehs.jpg

Yes, some of these cases resulted in the officer(s) losing their jobs or getting convicted, but there are hundreds that do not get that attention and are not prosecuted. I still do not feel safe and am always suspicious of cops no matter what, and other black people I know feel the same. We are always watching our back thinking a cop will come upon us, just as Richard Pryor describes here (warning, foul language- watch?v=rr5FY-q8MVE&feature=related). I or anyone else like me can get killed or injured for “driving while black,” “walking while black,” and even “sitting while black.” Now I can be calm or innocent in the situation and still be attacked, but imagine for someone who has a hot temper or is guilty, as in those two girls. A lot of these cops are guilty of overkill and reacting without caution. In the end, it feels as if no matter what we do, police will disrespect us. Even worse, not only black people are attacked, people of color across the spectrum are attacked, from Latinos and Asians in immigration raids or hate crimes and Middle-Eastern/South Asians in hate crimes after 9/11 and other terrorism reports. The funny thing is that the some of the same people, who are quick to call people of color terrorists or dangerous criminals, are just as much terrorists and criminals to us too. How can I respect and trust your authority when you do not respect my humanity?

More info.: What Would You Do – Vandalism Part 1 and What Would You Do – Vandalism Part 2 – Watch the two different reactions and how someone called a cop on the black people sleeping in the car instead of the white kids vandalising the car. So, we can add “sleeping while black.”

Biased Role in Cop on Cop Shootings

James Baldwin- A Report From an Occupied Territory

John White Goes to Jail for Trying to Protect his Family

NY Times – A Few Blocks, 4 Years, 52,000 Police Stops

So, that is where I’m coming from….

For Oscar Grant and every injustice done to black people…

What is the value of a black life

Is it only worth trouble and strife

Tell me America, when did you care

For a black mother who had to shed a tear

Did you care when we were in slavery

Or had black VIPs, no that was only for money

Did you care when you lynched a black father

And then right after that turn on the mother

Did you care about the bombings of Move

And Black Wall Street, or too busy in the groove

Did you care that it took decades to prosecute

All the civil rights murders on which you were mute

Did you care about men, women and even children

Who are treated as if they are guilty before innocent

Did you care that police are not charged with murder

From Amadou to Aiyanna to Sean to Oscar

Did you care that it’s taking centuries and more

To settle all of this and even the score

See, I fear for my future son, for him

That he may be another victim of this system

That continuously smacks us in the face

And tries to erase any obvious trace

Of their guilt, and then turn around to me

And say why am I so mad or why so angry?

I value my life and I have no choice but to care

But obviously mine is too much for you to bear.

July 9th, 2010 at 10:24 AM and tagged , , , , ,  | Comments Off on The Value of a Black Life | Permalink

I am Medusa, a daughter

Of the sea, a queen

Unto my people,

A guardian to all I am,

An enchantress of strength,

I, dark and lovely, with hair

Wild, keeps the wisdom

And secrets of the world

Locked in every twist,

You tried to silence me,

Rape me, lie about me,

Cut me into pieces

For your sick enjoyment,

But I fear no mortal man

Whose face turn to stone

With one look at me,

To him I am dreadful

Yet when I look at myself,

Life and love flows as much

As death through my blood,

I am a beauty that no man

Can create or kill…

June 16th, 2010 at 2:06 PM | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

My Site Review

When it comes to arts from African people and people of African descent from all over the world in mainstream museums, especially contemporary and modern art, their artwork often is underrepresented. Most of the time, the museums only include a few, more well-known artists, for example, Kerry James Marshall and Jacob Lawrence’s art at the MOMA. So, to find about a museum that showcases mostly contemporary and modern African art and art influenced by black culture was a great revelation.  Looking at the website for the first time, its plainness and lack of impressive visuals did not pull audiences into wanting to go. Although the website was not a well-developed introduction for potential visitors, the significance of the Studio Museum’s mission to show black art already makes it stand out from the other more established museums and the actual personal experience of being there felt much more rewarding than viewing the website.

Stepping out from the 2 and 3 subway station, and walking down 125th street towards the Apollo, it can be easy to miss the museum. The building is not overwhelming in its design like Brooklyn Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art; it is not what one man said a “temple on the hill.” Glancing up at the entire building, it looks like an office building. Right below, the first floor resembles more like the façade of a bank, which it was before the organization relocated there. All of this helps the museum to blend well with the rest of the neighborhood and feel as if it is embedded within the community. At the same time, it hurts the museum a little by making it hard to notice. Several people walking around 125th street either had no idea what the museum was or where it was located.  If the organizers could somehow renovate the front of the museum to attract people, like the famous marquee of the Apollo, it would it to be more known around the neighborhood.

Walking in, the museum’s down-to-earth appearance was matched by its very hospitable and helpful greeters. Before going into the gallery on the first floor, the first two unique feature of the museum is the Harlem is the “Me We” sign inspired by a Muhammad Ali line and the “Harlem Postcards” section. A neon installation created by Glenn Ligon, the “Me We” sign is a great introduction to the rest of the museum because it symbolizes the balance between individual artist and their work and a sense of community within Harlem. The “Harlem Postcards” section has photographs taken in Harlem and next to it are postcards of each. This section works as a gallery preview and the postcards are free souvenirs.

Inside the gallery, the initial thought is how small it actually is. With only three floors (basement, first and second), there is only so much artwork that will fit. Not only do the artistic director, Thelma Goodman, and the curators have to change the exhibitions after a shorter amount of time, but they also have to figure out ways to creatively put in the exhibitions. Some of the exhibitions were not separated by rooms, but only separated by the area or a single wall. Even though it was small, the gallery had a sense of fluidity and left the viewers wanting more as well as a diversity of exhibitions. The exhibitions included the main one called, 30 Seconds Off an Inch, which was mostly experimental, avant-garde and socially conscious art, on the first floor, Color Consciousness: Black/Blue (art using those two colors) in the basement, Wardell Milan: Drawings of Harlem on the second floor, and A Delicate Touch: Water Colors from the Permanent Collection. Some familiar names were on the walls, such as Chris Ofili. Would former Mayor Giuliani have made a big deal if Ofili’s painting was here instead of the Brooklyn museum? The museum does allow a lot more controversial and socio-political artwork in its exhibitions.  Just as controversial are the films shown on the second floor in a small theatre, such as Astro Black: History of Hip-Hop and The Conductor. The only problem with the theatre was that it was too dark for anyone to see where they were going when coming in and not enough seats were placed for people to stay long enough to watch. Many people would come, stay for a few seconds and then leave. Other than that, the films were thought-provoking and meshed well with the rest of the exhibitions.

One part of the second floor that served a better introductory than the website was the reading room. Besides the art books in there, it also had a video section that had an hour-long episode of This Week in Black Culture about the history and present activities and events at the Studio Museum. While the episode was interesting, it was too long for a visit at a museum and was distracting from the rest of the exhibitions. Instead, the video would have been better suited for the website to create more of an interest for visitors.

Whether one is entering into or coming out of the gallery, the restrooms are easily accessible, especially because the sign is next to the doors. The inside of the bathrooms was extremely clean and shiny. They had toilets with automatic flush and hand-triggered paper dispensers. Looking at the restrooms and then the rest of the museum, visitors can see that everyone who works there takes pride in it and wants to make a great presentation.

Next to the front desk was the Studio museum’s shop. In the shop were art books, notebooks, “Black is Beautiful” t-shirts, onesies and mugs, bags, postcards, posters, umbrellas, jewelry, etc. Some of the art books included were Posing Beauty, Chris Olifi: Afro Muses 1995-2005 and The World Stage: Africa Lagos-Dakar Kehinde Wiley. Besides the products, one thing that was compelling was the music used in the store. One would probably expect no music or “elevator” type of music in the store, but instead it was playing recent popular music, such as TLC’s “Creep.”

Another special feature of the museum is the Artists in Residence studio on the third floor. This year, the artists in residence were Mequitta Ahuja, Lauren Kelley, and Valerie Piraino. On Target Sunday, the studio was open for the public to come see. Before going up to the studio in the elevator, an elevator guide was also available to direct visitors to the studio, something that other museums often do not have. Entering the studio, some snacks (chips and water) were put out, but if a visitor was hungry, this would not have been enough to fill him or her. Beyond that, hearing the artists talk about their works while you are looking at them and also knowing that this is where they created their art gave a personal touch to a museum experience. Usually in other museums, visitors only appreciate the art, but in the studio, visitors can also appreciate the artists as an individual and human being, and hear about their work from their own mouths.

Attending Target Sunday on November 22 at around one in the afternoon was not as grand as attending Target Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. Target Saturday at the Brooklyn museum had a nightlife atmosphere; however, Target Sunday at the Studio museum was the opposite. Since it was one of the days paid off by target, one would expect that the museum would do something special to bring people into building. Moreover, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and visitors might want to come in for a pre-holiday treat. However, it was mostly like any ordinary day in which people just walk in to look at the exhibitions. The only events happening that day was that the Artists in Residence studio were open and there were a few educational programs to sign up for guests to create their own art. Also, on Fridays, the museum has “Uptown Fridays,” which it is comparable to Brooklyn Museum’s Target Saturday. This might have explain why turnout was not very high.

On the other hand, the audience attending the day was very diverse. Not only were African-Americans attending, but also other races, generally Caucasian and Asian. Most of the audience was from older teenagers to middle-aged adults. Very few children were there and the children that were there were around pre-teen age. Furthermore, the audience looked as if they were mostly middle to upper middle class.

Overall, the Studio Museum was worth the trip and seeing how it develops in the future will be worth it. The fact that the museum exists in the first place is a huge accomplishment; especially during the time it was first opened in 1968. Forty years later, the museum shows great potential to be even better and should get more media attention. For now, the museum’s size is both a blessing and a curse. Since it is a non-profit organization, the museum’s duty as a server to the public is being carried out. Providing art programs and activities, offering studio space and financial support for up and coming artists, displaying artists who have a hard time being shown at more mainstream museums, allowing visitors to see the studio where the artists work demonstrates how the museum gives much to the community.

Also, the smallness of museum allows for more personal contacts and more freedom of expression. In the museum, the employees were welcoming and some of the visitors seemed to have formed relationships with them after coming several times. With the artists actually working in the studio located in the museum, visitors can come face to face with the people who actually created the art and get to know them.  Last, the museum is not as prominent as other museums and that slight level of anonymity lets it be less troubled with censorship problems and controversial topics, such as in Willie Cole: Art (in the new world order). These factors help the museum to be more intimate, non-traditional and innovative by connecting the artist to the public, collectors and galleries.

Still, the disadvantages of having a small space and probably not enough wealthy donors create problems for amenities and marketing. It is not obvious if the entire building belongs to the museum’s organization, but if it is, they do not use most of it for the public. While it does have a retail shop, the museum does not have food services within the building. On 125th street, a few restaurants surround the street, but if visitors do not want to leave the building (ex. Cold weather) and are hungry, they might want to enjoy a nice meal on the premises. Additionally, a restaurant or dining hall in the museum could serve special food, such as traditional African, Caribbean and Southern-styled foods. It would be a good marketing strategy to bring visitors in to try different types of food.

Other renovations for the building might include using more floors for more exhibitions, a larger performance and theatre room and changing the front of the building, so the first floor and the rest of the building match along with being eye-catching. The banner on the outside is too petite and plain to spot from far away, so the least they could do for now is create a bigger sign. However, all of this will take a lot financial backing, so hopefully the organizations connections with the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the New Museum might help bring it more donors and members to fund projects like this or even a new building. For now, word of mouth might be one of the best ways to convince people to invest. At the same time, the museum will have to worry about keeping its mission and integrity alive while getting more financial support. However, just looking at its version of the American flag in green, red and black, the colors associated with Africa, on the outside of the building suggest that they will focus much on the former.

March 8th, 2010 at 7:00 PM | Comments Off on Move Over Apollo Theatre, Make Way for the Studio Museum | Permalink

A few weeks ago, poet Aja Monet made some profound statements on Twitter criticizing America and it had such an effect on me that I wanted to post it.:

I think Obama’s intentions are at the right place. However, he is now part of a system, that will utilize him in any way necessary…I don’t think he was prepared for the secrets this country keeps in the corners where only wicked truth resides. Don’t call it conspiracy theory just cause you’re afraid of the world you live in. Somethings are just real. So long as we still worrying about poppin’ bottles and living substance-free lives, you’re good. Enjoy your meaningless lives…People have paid for your ignorance and you think it’s cute. Wake the f*** up. its not cute. You aint cute. There are systems in place so that you don’t ever demand more for yourself, for your lives, for your children. Its bigger than race, than morale. These people have no remorse for the evils they inflict upon people…You could have a heart of gold, but you are trying to be a leader of ruthless killers…what did you think was gonna happen…We are living in world where its kill or be killed. It’s drink starbucks or be the n**** workin slave shifts to make your cup of coffee bean. “You can’t be the revolutionary and the emperor and the same time.” Welcome to our system of “democracy.”

Do you really think we want to see other countries living democratically in their own countries…That would mean half the world would be terrorists against our existence. People dont love us, they fear us. There’s a difference. My role is to remind us of our humanity, of our internal spiritual capacity to overcome the shackles of unknown oppression…My role is to learn, to teach myself through trial and error, to live a life abundant and accountable. My role is to face the horrors of my complacency, of my failures. To be better than I was yesterday…My role is to tell you like it is. Even when I dont wanna hear it. My role is to be an example of human complexity. To reveal that one way of living does not negate the other, rather we are complex creatures, we are multifaceted in our abilities…The greatest weapon they can take from you is your mind, is to take your language, your voice…I’ll be damned if your complacency takes mine…Consider any great leader that does not support the agenda of american colonization and you will understand the depth of this system. America’s greed does not just end at oil, it never even began there…it was always about land and power…power manifest itself in material goods but also in the infliction of fear…If a people can sustain itself, can find pride & courage, can learn self love and spiritual importance. Why then thats a formula for freedom…It’s hard to believe a country that calls any move to improve the lives of it’s own citizens “socialism”, is not getting anything in return…Ask necessary questions of your leadership. Make the connections for yourself. It’s not that hard to see.

February 4th, 2010 at 6:47 PM and tagged , ,  | Comments Off on Aja Monet’s Words of Wisdom | Permalink