Temple Univerity, North Philly, Mass Gentrification, Temple University Police

The Side Effects of #MassGentrification in #NorthPhilly and #AnyTown, U.S.A.

This past Friday on October 21st, 2016 at approximately 8:30pm EST about 150 teens gathered on Temple University‘s North Philadelphia campus in front of the Pearl Theatre. The teens allegedly gathered after being called together via a social media post. Once the kids who were said to be between the ages of 14-17 years old congregated, they began attacking Temple University students, parents, police officers and even punched one officer’s horse in the head twice. In what seemed to be a well-organized revolt against Temple University Police. By the time the attack was over, there were only about four arrests made.

Why did the kids of this North Philadelphia neighborhood decide to come together and go on this crazy rampage? The only thing I could think of is mass gentrification. I myself am a graduate of Temple University (School of Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising ’04) and prior to graduating, the extreme renovation of Temple University’s North Philly campus was in its early stages.

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A crowd of kids gathered on Temple University’s North Philly campus on 10.21.16 and went on a violent rampage. Image via The Washington Post.

Now when I return to Temple’s campus once or twice a year to help out my college Fencing coach and Temple University icon, Dr. Nikki Franke with some of her various competitions (which I myself once competed in), I can see the plan that the university had to take over the entire North Philly area finally coming into fruition. It’s obvious. But, what about the the families who have lived for decades on these blocks and in these buildings that Temple has been taking over at such a rapid pace? What about the people being pushed out of their homes so Temple can build new buildings and facilities and hire other employees who more than likely aren’t even from the neighborhood and have no connection to the neighborhood whatsoever? You’re going to have a lot of angry folks and this time around it was the kids of North Philly saying “Look, we’ve had enough!” Mass gentrification is taking place all over America right now and the truth of the matter is we’re going to see more of these type of events happening due to a whole bunch of people (kids included) being fed up.

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Photo via @az_duz_it‘s Instagram and The Washington Post

When I was a student at Temple University, I tutored at a program organized by the university called “Temple Tutors.” Temple University students currently enrolled at the school would go to the various schools in the area and tutor students during and after school hours. I was pretty disgusted everyday I walked into the schools I was tutoring at when I saw how decrepit the school supplies that the students had to use were. Some of the school text books were hanging from the bind, literally. So, this made me think that maybe there are positive effects of mass gentrification, as well? When better schools are being built with better resources this is a good thing. However, there has to be some type of common ground between the people responsible for the renovating and the people who live in the neighborhoods being renovated or else these types of events will continue to take place.

I hope all the families, police officers, students, etc. who were affected by this unexpected revolt are doing well. Sometimes events like this have to occur to make things better. Either way, I will always represent my alma mater to the fullest. “][“U baby!!!

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#TBT: The #AllTheWayUp Edition!

I wanted to dedicate this post to female Hip-Hop artist Remy Ma. She appeared today on daytime talk show “The Real” and looked oh so fabulous while on the show. It was a great interview and she spoke about all the things going on in her life right now following her highly publicized release from prison back in 2014.

“I had a lot of people telling me that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that it was over for me; and when you’re in such a dark place like that, it’s easy to believe all the negative. So, I’m just grateful and really blessed.” – Remy Ma on “The Real” talk show on October 20th, 2016

In April of 2015, I had the opportunity to meet her and her mentor/brother Hip-Hop veteran Fat Joe during an interview for a podcast I was working for at the time called “The Cipher” and Remy Ma was a total sweetheart! I’m very proud of the progression that Remy Ma is making as a Hip-Hop artist and as a role model for young African-American women. I hope she continues to take the high road. She isn’t letting any of her haters or past demons hold her back and this is admirable. Congrats to Remy Ma on all her success and continue to go “All The Way Up!” 😉

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Photo courtesy of Aziza Hassan’s Instagram @rashidaaz

 

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Photo courtesy of “The Real” Instagram @therealdaytime

 

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Remy Ma, #BrooklynGirlCode creator Aziza Hassan and Hip-Hop veteran Fat Joe

The Life & Times of #Chrihanna (Chris Brown and Rihanna): Part I

Chris Brown via International Business Times
Chris Brown via International Business Times

Despite what everybody says, I know Rihanna still loves her Chrissy Poo and vice versa. After I saw a post about Rihanna and Drake’s abrupt split earlier this week in the IBTimes and then Chris Brown trying to lure Rih-Rih back in with gifts, I had to make a gallery. So, in honor of #FlashBackFriday I’ve compiled a whole bunch of pictures of #Chrihanna (Chris Brown and Rihanna) and their long-standing on again/off again epic relationship. Enjoy!

Mural honoring "Radio Raheem" played by the late actor Bill Nunn

#LoveVsHate

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Photo courtesy of Spike Lee’s official Instagram account @officialspikelee

Earlier today, actor Bill Nunn passed away at the age of sixty-two, less than one month shy of his sixty-third birthday (October 20, 1953-September 24th 2016) in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. I felt like I needed to write something to commemorate his life and career because I literally was just watching Do the Right Thing yesterday evening while channel surfing and stretched out on the couch. Nunn played many different parts in various movies including Spider-Man, He Got Game, New Jack City, School Daze and others. However, his most popular and prominent role, in my mind, is when he played the part of Radio Raheem, the mute b-boy in Spike Lee‘s 1989 breakthrough film Do the Right Thing. All Radio Raheem wanted to do was play his music loud on his boombox and convey his message of love to the world via his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn neighborhood.

However, the irony of Radio Raheem’s story in Do the Right Thing is that he was murdered in his own neighborhood by the police for playing his music and spreading his message of love. In the graphic movie scene where Radio Raheem is strangled to death, Spike Lee did an incredible job of imitating real life and what’s going on in society right now to a tee.

Bill Nunn played the role of Radio Raheem over twenty years ago and look at all that’s going on today in America with law enforcement. I was around in 1989 and I’m still here. So, I know first hand how things have worsened. And this is not just due to the changes in technology like some people may claim. There has been a surge in police violence and something must change to end this. If writing about it can lead to some type of progression, then I’ll keep writing until I can’t write anymore.

Hate is the sickness and love is the cure. This is one thing Radio Raheem had up on a lot of us twenty plus years ago. So, to honor the late great Bill Nunn, how about we try more love and less hate?! Love is a major key!

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Rest in Power to actor Bill Nunn a.k.a.”Radio Raheem”

 

Victim Terence Crutcher with a family member

#TerenceCrutcher

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Shooting victim Terence Crutcher (l) pictured with his father (r). Photo courtesy of Facebook.

On Friday, September 16th, 2016, another innocent unarmed African-American male was killed by gunfire at the hands of another White police officer. This time the location was Tulsa, Oklahoma and the victim was 40 year-old Terence Crutcher. The officer responsible for his death was Officer Betty Shelby who somehow believed that Crutcher had a firearm on him at the time she shot even though the police video clearly shows that Crutcher had both his arms raised. So, what will the outcome of this situation be? Will it be just like all the other murders (i.e. Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Michael Brown) that we speak about for several days then stop speaking about right up until the next shooting occurs?

The issue that has to be addressed here is police training! These police officers are being trained improperly or they are not being given enough training prior to being released out into the field to protect and serve! As a result of this, whether it be systemic racism or just poor training, Black men are losing their lives to police officers at an alarmingly high rate in America.

Why are these officers so quick to shoot? Why are they pulling the trigger with no just cause and killing these Black men with no remorse? My idea is that somewhere down the line these officers were either taught to shoot first or specifically taught who to shoot at. Either way, there is something happening or not happening during the police training that has to be addressed in order for this epidemic to end. I feel that police training should be way more extensive, especially since these men and women are dealing with the lives of innocent people. This is not a sport. This is real life. These are innocent people with families and responsibilities who are being gunned down senselessly.

Terence Crutcher was a man who did not deserve to lose his life. Now he will join the countless other Black men who lost their lives at the hands of police officers. God bless Terence Crutcher and his family during this difficult time. Stop the shooting and address proper police training ASAP!

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Officer Betty Shelby (R) shot and killed unarmed Terrence Crutcher (L) on September 16th, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

#RIPTupacShakur

Photo Courtesy of @Celebritea_News Instagram
Photo Courtesy of @celebri_teanews Instagram

“We used to be like distant cousins/ fightin’/ playin’ dozens/ whole neighborhood buzzin’/ knowing that we wasn’t.” – Tupac Shakur, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.”

It’s difficult to believe that today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Tupac Amaru Shakur who was known to the world as just “Tupac.” Although the prolific Hip-Hop artist and poet has been gone two decades now, his music and life continue to remain extremely relevant in the media. With an upcoming biopic being released later this year about his tumultuous life and more new music being released, Tupac continues to make history in his demise. Rest in Paradise to a true hip-hop legend and Rest in Paradise to a true hip-hop legend’s mama (Afeni Shakur 9/10/47-5/2/16) as well! “Tupac Rifa Siempre!” ❤

Photo Courtesy of Aziza Hassan’s Twitter: @datfencingchic

Tupac releasing new music Hip Hop My Way
A news spot that I wrote for Hip Hop My Way in 2015 that did high numbers on the Social Network.
Tupac Shakur Covers The Source Magazine March 1994
Tupac Shakur covers The Source magazine, March 1994
"Tupac Rifa Siempre" mural art
“Tupac Rifa Siempre”
Tupac with his mother, the late Afeni Shakur
Tupac with his mother, the late Afeni Shakur

#FridayNightLights.

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“I’m the question and the answer like Iverson.” – Jay-Z, “A Million and One Questions (Remix)”

The young man from Newport News, Virginia is finally getting all the accolades that he deserves! Congratulations to Allen Iverson on being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame today. “Bubba Chuck” is what they call him!