Archive for the ‘Art and Showbiz’ Category


Season 21-dwts-premiere

DWTS Season 21 Premier/ABC

 “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow … I hear my being dance from ear to ear … I learn by going where I have to go.”   ~from The Waking by Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is an American version of the British television series, Strictly Come Dancing that first aired in 2005 on ABC.  A natural lover of the arts with dance being my favorite art form, I have become a fan of DWTS despite its historic biases.

Overall, the show’s energy is joyful, the production numbers are classic, and the sets are spectacular.  Now, if only the show’s producers would present all American cultures with the same deference it affords Eurocentric cultures (“the West”).  DWTS would then be a perfect vehicle toward world peace and unity.

A Little History Lesson

Sadly, most of us don’t realize the extent of our biases, or how hurtful such can be.  Moreover, believing that we are right, rarely do we consider the origin of our thoughts or the fact that we can actually change our minds at will.  Yet, herein lies the root cause of our destructive biases longing to be transformed.

In January 1492, Granada Spain is retaken.  Thus falls the last bastion of Moorish civilization that had conquered parts of Europe during the 8th Century. The Moors (“the Blacks”) were mainly Black Africans of the Islamic faith.  Now ruled by White Christians of the Catholic faith, Islamic books are burned and historic records allegedly hidden.

Concurrently, Christopher Columbus and his long awaited voyages of discovery are financed by the victorious Catholic monarchs. The Americas are discovered, and the sad conquest of land and human slavery is repeated.  Around 1600 AD, the Moors are expelled from Spain.  Europe’s Transatlantic Slave Trade emerges destined to divide civilization, but not forever!

With the enslavement of some Black folks and other people of color, White folks of all stripes are erroneously socialized into believing that their civilization is superior to all other Races on the planet, and “race-mixing” is deemed a civil wrong with grave consequences.

Today, racism is slowly dying in the West.  Yet, the root of racism remains, but not forever!

How DWTS’ Historic Bias Spoils the Fun

Mahatma Gandhi, who freed India of colonialism by use of Spiritual Force, which he called “the Force of Truth,” once declared: “We must become the change we want to see.”  Yet, in order to see that change, we must transform our flawed biases.

In my opinion, DWTS have literally taken the fun out of Latin dance.  Clearly a major point of contention for me from the beginning, as authentic Latin music is rarely played.  Still, I’ve learned to overlook such Western biases and enjoy the rest of the show.

That is, until it became obvious that Season 21 judges (Carrie Ann, Bruno, and Julianne whom I like and God loves) were clueless about Latin dance techniques, thus were unwittingly sending the wrong message.  Did they ever study Latin Dance with its actual creators?

After his Western Cha-cha dance on 9-22, the judges unduly criticize actor-singer Carlos PenaVega whose talent and Hispanic heritage is undeniable.  All deem his dance form “too squatty,” like he was “sitting on a horse,” adds Bruno.  Cary Ann abruptly said she was “not impressed.”  Julianne wrongly advises him to keep the legs straight, which is contrary to certain dance steps.

Actually, Carlos’ Cha-Cha was ideal.  His study of musical theater at the Boston Conservatory showed well.  Set to “Hound Dog” an old R&B song first recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, Carlos and Witney delivered a great story. Bravo!

Being human, such biases likely hurt.  Yet, Carlos remained polite and brought it to the dance floor with style and vigor.  He would finish in fourth place.

Next, Hispanic jockey Victor Espinoza, a recent winner of the legendary Triple Crown who uses his good fortune to help others, could not escape the judges’ historic biases either.

After Karina and Victor’s Jive Dance on 9-21, Bruno seemingly refers to Victor’s variation on a theme of La Bamba, a beloved Mexican folk song and courtship dance from Veracruz, as a chaotic “jumping bean”, while Carrie Ann seemed fixated on his diminutive height.  Likely meant as a cultural gift, Victor’s handsome face radiated his humanity and good-humor despite the judges’ very bad manners.

In sharp contrast, seems the judges unfairly favored young Bindi Irwin, a perky teen of European heritage. Much to the exclusion of her rivals, she was often called special, a star, a diva and such; which, of course, ultimately became very influential.

Exceeding his usual dramatics, after Bindi & Derek’s “Freestyle” Dance in Week 11, Bruno tells Bindi: “You showed us the power of dance at its most pure and effective form…” clearly an overstatement that was not amusing this time.

While Carrie Ann’s remarks to Bindi really got mushy, thus tearfully saying: “Thanks to your mom and dad for creating you.  I am so grateful for you…”  Like, way over the top perhaps?

Bindi Irwin would win the grand prize.  Given all the unfair sentiment the judges unabashedly heaped upon her throughout the season, how could she not!

Her final dance, a so-called Latin dance fusion, finished with a few twists and turns on the balls of her feet.  Hopefully, one day Bindi will learn Latin dance and realize the vibrant spirit of its wonderful people, which is what DWTS must really be about.

Alek Skarlatos, a polite young man who received national honor from President Obama for stopping an attack on a Paris train along with his two childhood friends, was also overly glorified by the judges.  Alek would make it to the finals and finish in third place, though he admits to being a limited dancer.

Honoring World Dance and Music

Given its badly informed emphases on hip thrusts and gyrations, which is a joke, and the unusual twirly-whirly movements, seems DWTS is way out of touch with Latin Dance that is both joyful and timeless, which uplifts the human spirit.

After Bindi & Derek’s Salsa dance on 11-16, I was shocked when Julianne said to Bindi: “For me, I wish I would have seen a more down and dirty because that’s what Salsa is all about.” Being very offensive, this remark drew unexpected boos from the audience.

Actually Salsa, and other dance traditions, is a family affair meant for everybody.  At home or family gatherings, its dancers can range from toddlers to senior citizens.

Besides the lyrical rhythms of the Spanish language, Latin American music is a mix of the Afro-Cuban rhythms created by the African slaves in need of spiritual renewal.  Seems Julianne’s “down and dirty” remark about Salsa dance is so typical of the historic biases we are referring to here, and on so many levels.

Dance traditions differ throughout the world.  Some dance to the ground (African and Spanish Flamenco dance), some barely touch the ground (Native American dance), some nearly sit (Hindu Temple dance), the Dervishes whirl in ecstasy (Sufi-Islamic Sacred dance), while other traditions keep the posture erect (Celtic, Ballet, and Ballroom dance).

In general, art is more fluid than linear.  Yet, there is truth, discipline and passion at its core.  A true artist recognizes the presence of art and honors it well.

As the Reggae troubadour often sings: “Who feels it knows it.”

Being born and raised in the West, it took me a long time to flex my knees enough to properly move through Reggae dance.  But I did!  My formal study of Bharata Natyam, Hindu classical dance, helped a lot.  A big fan of Reggae music, I also hung out in the culture that created it, and quietly studied the movements of the people.

So I really appreciated the veteran dancers on DWTS who actually executed Latin Dance with knowledge and grace, though generally absent its indigenous rhythms.

Dance Can Be Big Fun and Very Healing

Having the soul of a dancer, over the years I’ve learned that the pure joy of dance heals sadness, fatigue, the flu, and even an open wound when naturally open to its spiritual vibrations.

Years ago, I was healed of a small open wound during Latin dance.  The next morning, unlike finding the usual lumpy scab, to my amazement a smooth, seemly days-old tissue had formed. Thus, my band-aid fix was discarded.

Tito Puente/ Photo biography.com

Such healing appeared after dancing all night to the live music of the legendary Tito Puente, also known as “El Rey de los Timbales” (The King of the Timbales).   Wow! I can still see his great smile and feel the joy as he played his famous timbales, now in the Smithsonian Museum.

Though born and raised in New York City, studied at Julliard School of Music on his GI Bill, some thought El Rey was Cuban. In June of 2000, the beloved Tito Puente dies at age 77. The world grieves, while local fans wait in line to bid him goodbye.  Having lost her native son, America weeps.  Yet, Tito Puente’s musical legacy lives on!

Be More Like Water and Change The World

Often attributed to the legendary Bruce Lee, a Chinese-American actor and acclaimed martial artist of the 60s and 70s, the following motto is revered in the Martial Arts community:

“I want to be like water. Water is the softest substance in the world, yet it can penetrate the hardest rock.”

Likely a metaphor for Universal Love, as water flows naturally unless we block it.  Only love can conquer hate and self-indulgence, the source of all wars.  Thus, the classic goal of the artist is to rise above the primitive passions of egotism and elevate the human spirit.

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Chef Joseph of the Nez Perce/ Photo Wikipedia

Outnumbered and facing defeat, in surrendering to the U.S. in October of 1877, the honorable Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe, a Native American leader who fought valiantly for their homeland, states these immortal words:

“I am tired of fighting … From where the sun stands, I will fight no more forever.”

With all the talk of terrorism these days and how to avert it, still the world is advancing towards unity.  Thus, it is best for all of us to be more like water, and seek to penetrate the hardest biases of those bent on hate and segregation.

Universal Love lights the way, which often begins in our families, our churches, and in our arts.

While we can’t change the past, we can change our minds about how we chose to see the world, and how we react to those around us.  And we can do this now.  Herein is a direct path to the peace and transformation we all seek.

In closing his Noble Peace Prize Lecture, Dec 2002, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr., 39th U.S. President and Global Peacemaker awarded for his work with the Carter Center, states:

“The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us a capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes ̶ ̶ and we must.”

So let us resolve to make the world a better place.  Let us awaken to a new day, relax our biases, lovingly embrace the world’s cultures, and gladly learn by going where we have to go.  Thus, the world is changed one step at a time, as only the true artist can do.

Happy New Year.  Free the mind!

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© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2016. All rights reserved.


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Happy-New-Year-2016-Emerson Quotes-Photos-Greetings

Happy New Year and Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Time is but an illusion really. The past is over and the future is now, go figure.

Only love is real. Yet, pain and suffering can seem more real than real at the time. Perhaps this is why some think of hell as eternal damnation, go figure.

Actually nothing lasts forever. And since hell is not real and only love is real, the odds of escaping an eternal hell are definitely in our favor, go figure.

Thankfully, it’s already been figured out for us. Thus say the Ancients:

Choose once again! But remember, what we chose for others we also choose for our self. Choose love.

Have a blessed and prosperous year. Free the mind!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2016. All rights reserved.

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“All unhealed healers follow the ego’s plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation and advocate a fearful solution,” A Course in Miracles, Text 9:5.

At a time when the World seems peacefully united, I just love the Olympics.

In 1988, Calgary Canada, master figure-skater Debi Thomas became “the first Black athlete to win any medal at the Winter Olympics”.

Debi instantly becomes a national treasure. And, much like Muhammad Ali and the other great African American Olympians before and after her, Debi Thomas remains a credit to our race in particular.

Blessed with stellar support, her mother reportedly drove over 100 miles a day taking Debi to school and training on the ice. Today, Debi Thomas is still: “The 1986 World Champion, two-time U.S. National Champion and 1988 Olympic Bronze Medalist.” Wikipedia.

Lest We Not Forget!

I remember watching Debi’s Olympic performances on television while cheering her on. I was both proud and ecstatic as she received her medal…a mere token of her advanced talent. Thank you Debi for making us all so very proud, truly a time to remember and cherish!

Debi Thomas 88 Qlympian

Debi Thomas 1988 Olympian

After retiring from amateur skating, Debi graduates from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in engineering. In 1994, she fulfills her childhood dream of becoming a doctor and graduates from medical school at Northwestern University. Set to specialize in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Debi Thomas completes her Orthopedic Residency Programs and ultimately goes into private practice.

Dr Debi Thomas

Dr. Debi Thomas

Having mastered, not one, but two of the World’s most difficult courses of study, Dr. Debi Thomas is inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000. And her exceptional life continues.

Frankly, if Dr. Debi were to rest on her laurels, make tons of money and ‘chill out’ indefinitely, we really can’t blame her for that. Yet, being the ‘champ’ that she truly is, seems Debi Thomas has chosen to answer the Call, once again, and continue the ancient struggle.

Rebuked & Scorned on National TV

“I been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned…I’ve been talked about ‘sho you born.” ~Traditional Negro Spiritual

Having heard little about Debi Thomas since her 1988 Olympic triumph in Calgary, I looked forward to her television appearance. Though rarely do I watch TV’s reality shows, prefer a good romantic comedy or drama instead. That said, I do enjoy the OWN network and truly appreciate Oprah’s vision for it, which is to edify and uplift us all.

Sadly, the good will that Oprah has created for OWN just did not extend to Dr. Debi Thomas on its “Iyanla: Fix My Life” show recently. In fact, the show’s host, Iyanla Vanzant, treated Debi badly…very, very badly in my opinion.

The obvious question is: What the hell was Iyanla thinking; did she not review the show before it aired?

With all of Iyanla’s alleged expertise, seems in review she would have spotted the ego’s treatment plan all up in her mess. Then called Debi immediately, begged her forgiveness, and scrapped the whole thing; or, offer to film it correctly. But she didn’t.

Those of us rather familiar with Iyanla’s work over the years have seen her do better. So we know that Iyanla can do better, why she didn’t is a big mystery. Besides airing the woman’s eccentric living conditions and romantic problems in the wrong spirit, seems the most egregious thing that Iyanla did was to call Dr. Thomas’ mental health into question.

Not only was this not Iyanla’s call, but her belief in the subjective mental diagnosis she offered up as evidence, which Debi disputed, harkens back to the Dark Ages where eccentric kin were legally deemed insane and given cruel shock treatments that either impaired or finished them, usually for the money. So it’s hard to believe that an alleged New Age “life coach” would actually go there, but this one did.

Since the show’s airing on November 7, I’ve read several articles and reader’s comments about Dr. Thomas’ well being, some supportive, some negative as usual. I then visited Debi’s GoFundMe page that seeks financial help and also gives her side of the story.

There, among other things, Dr. Debi assures us that: “There are no mental health issues, drugs, or alcohol involved, just healing,” which made me feel a whole lot better about her situation.

Thanks Dr. Debi for moving forward in your life, so very, very sorry that Iyanla Vanzant chose condemnation rather than compassion on her show. Sadly, it seems Iyanla could well “fix” her own life before trying to fix someone else’s life.

Having been through hard times myself, including years of chronic depression, I have come to realize the healing power of applied spiritual study of the right text (“applied” being the operative word here). Such studies work for me, and will for anyone with an affinity for study and application in particular.

A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer in his bestseller, also featured on his National Public Television specials (PBS), indeed “There’s A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.”

Here Dr. Dyer “shows us that there is an omnipresent spiritual force right at our fingertips that contains the solution to our problems ̶ ̶̶ from ill health, to financial worries, to relationship difficulties. Drawing from various spiritual traditions, especially from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, Dyer helps us unplug from the material world and awaken to the divine within (front flap, 1st Ed).”

A truly humble teacher: Many years ago during a Whole Life Expo in Atlanta where he was one of the featured speakers, at intermission Dr. Dyer stood quietly by his display of books waiting for anyone who might have a question or just wanted to talk. Frankly, I was too awestruck to even say anything, but I shall never forget his wonderful presence.

A Course in Miracles

At the beginning of his above mentioned book, Dr. Wayne Dyer quotes from my favorite self-study text to date, simply known as the Course:

“You have no problems, though you think you have…” ~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM)

It’s been over twenty years since a lovely lady handed me the Course. She was the bookstore manager at the New Thought church I was attending. Being short on finances she gave me the book, having already been paid for by donated funds, she said.

Previously, after meditating for years, one day I cried out to God asking to be happy all the time rather than being blissed out in meditation.

Little did I know then that my life would radically change. Not only would I leave my church home of eighteen years, my spiritually evolved teacher-counselor whom I would never see again, and my immediate family, but would move across the country in the process. And so I did.

There, I would find the Course, or more like it found me. Upon perusing this great book, I immediately recognized it was for me and hit the ground running, so to speak.

The Course also teaches you to teach, the irony is it does not tell you when, exactly.

Thus, a lot of its new students, including myself, tend to think formal teaching begins right after you complete the Workbook, which is not usually the case. Though I drafted an extensive outline for organized lectures on the Course that went well and held classes in the local Unity Church, eventually up pops the ego and the classes ended.

Clearly, I was so not yet ready to teach the Course. Hurt? Of course I was. Yet, I move on having much to learn, and what a blessing indeed!

Today, I am still learning. Yet, I can better see my progress now. And the gift of Inner Peace and Unconditional Happiness is ever near, which is what I was really crying out to God for on that fateful day so long ago.

So What Exactly is A Course in Miracles?

Here is what it says in its brief Introduction found at the beginning of the Text:

“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

This Course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”

~A Course in Miracles

Wow, pure poetry!  The Course’s Introduction brings back such poignant memories of my early days with it.

Peace and Light to all. Free the Mind!

(Updated 11/14/15, 2nd photo of Debi added)

(Updated 11/17/15, text added “I’ve been ‘buked…)

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2015. All rights reserved.

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“Tell a white lie for no reason. They point fingers and bite the hand that feeds them. Help ’em Lord, for they know not what they do, swear to God they know better than you…Tell the truth,” by Jussie Smollett, actor/singer-songwriter.

The term ‘a white lie’ generally refers to the gentle lies we often tell each other or ourselves to avoid facing a harsh truth. Silence may be necessary at times; yet, in the end, the truth is better served though sometimes hurtful.

It is far better to be wounded by a thorn of truth and change our perspective, then shrink behind a bouquet of little white lies…to laugh not all of our laughter and cry not all of our tears.

Each time I hear young Jessie Smollett’s poignant song ‘Tell The Truth’ from the acclaimed television series Empire, it haunts me long after it’s finished. For me, it’s as if young Jessie, through the gift of his voice, is virtually crying out in the wilderness, beseeching those of us who are still asleep, and there are many, to wake up and see the truth before it’s too late.

And then, please tell the truth! Particularly, as it relates to decades of unregulated police abuse or harassment of African-American males, and others, that has now turned deadly.

Don Lemon’s Troubling Article

An award-winning journalist known for his pointed questions and impromptu remarks, his job, that reflects a free American spirit, Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and breaking news stories on-the-scene. Which has included the recent Baltimore Riots, the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, and the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford Florida. Before joining CNN in 2006, he had anchored for NBC News and its affiliates.

Although his recent article titled ‘Baltimore Crime is off the Charts, Guess Who Is To Blame?’ is troubling, I generally like Don’s reporting and follow him on CNN. While I feel Mr. Lemon is on our side re the smoldering issue of police abuse nationwide, I am not sure whether the article takes us to the truth-of-the-matter or distracts from it, here is why.

The above cited article reports a significant rise in crime in the Baltimore area, particularly the shootings and homicides over the Memorial Day weekend where “29 people were shot [and 8] were killed”. It also states that homicides are currently “up 40 percent from last year” making these crimes the deadliest since 1999. This, according to the mayor, is “disheartening” indeed, thus no argument there.

Seems “the recent unrest” is, in part, the blame for the crime surge. Yet, Commissioner Anthony Batts assures us that his police clearly are “not holding back” despite being surrounded by up to 50 citizens putting cameras in their faces whenever they respond to a call; a sure sign there is much work needed on community engagement, he states.

Though the article does not directly blame the mayor, the police commissioner, or the residents. Yet, by inferring that: “The real story however may not be anything Batts or the Mayor want to admit,” and that the reason for the crime surge “was the direct result of a coordinated police work slowdown,” alluding to an unnamed police officer’s beliefs, it sure seems so.

Are Massive Protests Against Police Brutality To Blame?

Apart from the recent riots in Baltimore sparked by Freddie Gray’s funeral, yet another African American male allegedly abused to death while in police custody, seems most of the nationwide protests against police brutality have been relatively peaceful.

The above cited article closes by stating: “But officers in Baltimore, according to at least one of their own, are turning their backs on not only the Mayor but also the citizens they’re sworn to protect, ” and ends with a list of shootings and homicides over the weekend.

Unintended perhaps, still it seems this scenario clearly smacks of the ol’ blame-the-victim game to avoid a harsh truth. This is not only troubling but dangerous! As the problem of systemic police brutality is escalating and threatens the very fabric of our great nation.

Are We Ready to Save Our Democracy?

Someone once said that the Chinese character for crisis represents destruction and opportunity. So, today, are we truly ready to save our democracy and take it to the next level? Or do we continue making the same old mistakes? The choice, as always, is ours.

First we have to recognize that our beloved democracy has not only reached a crisis, but the smoldering issue of nationwide police abuse is at its nexus!

Actually, the world often seems in one crisis or another; but, first, we must get our own stuff in order before we can even think about saving the world.

Thankfully, there are attributes within each of us ready to extinguish the smoldering fires of police abuse now! That now threatens to uproot democracy, our most cherished American value. Yet, we must be willing to see the truth and let it leads us…rather than continue with the usual convoluted cover ups.

Justice for Some Only is Likely the Real Culprit

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” a reminder from John Adams, c.1798, our 2nd U.S. President and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

Believe it or not! Today, justice for some only is likely the real culprit threatening to uproot our democracy, and it usually starts at the top. Thus making a mockery of the intent of our nation’s founders, and a facade of our U.S. Constitution that has now become fodder for the elite!

Though African-American males and other people of color, in particular, have either been harassed and humiliated or detained without cause by abusive police officers for decades, seems the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, with impunity, have sparked a new Civil Rights Movement. Many are protesting police brutality en masse while demanding justice for its victims!

In February 2013 while walking home alone on a misty evening, Trayvon Martin, an African American unarmed teenager was shot to death in Sanford Florida after being stalked by an alleged neighborhood watchman who never identified himself to Trayvon, states the police detective’s initial report. Before being killed by Zimmerman, Trayvon tells a friend on his phone that he is being followed by “a creepy ass white man,” a sure sign of intense fear.

Though Trayvon’s killer seemly had a fair trial, many believe otherwise. According to published reports, seems a bar to justice for Trayvon’s family and society likely started at the top; and ultimately corrupted the police investigation, the trial prosecution, and the jury.

In July 2014, Staten Island New York, Eric Garner an African American man, age 43, virtually died right before our eyes on national TV gasping “I can’t breathe.” Garner was in a chokehold held by a police officer trying to arrest him for selling untaxed single cigarettes. A petty crime that is evocative of Victor Hugo’s immortal hero Jean Valjean in Le Misérables, who is ever hounded by Inspector Javert, a self-righteous policeman, for stealing a loaf of bread, c.1862.

Today, Eric Garner’s tragic death seems to ask us all: Is not a person’s life worth more than a State’s tax on one cigarette? Are not our laws also meant to be merciful?

Though the New York Medical Examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide, in December 2014 a Staten Island Grand Jury declined to indict his killer. Thousands marched on Washington protesting police violence, with slogans of “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.” And so the clarion call for justice continues.

In August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot multiple times by a local police officer in Ferguson Missouri while begging for his life. Witnesses stated Michael had stopped running, and had turned around with his hands up in surrender. The police officer basically said Michael was madly charging at him with his fists balled up. Stumbling, grimacing, doubling up in pain from all those nasty ol’ gunshot wounds, dying perhaps? Of course, this atrocity would have easily been exposed in a fair trial.

No indictment was issued by the local Grand Jury. Thus, no trial!

In a March 4 2015 Memo re Michael Brown’s killing, the U.S. Department of Justice mainly states no criminal charges filed, case should be closed. Various witness testimony was deemed “inconsistent” that could also mean incoherent, confused, inarticulate, and so on. Yet, some of these witnesses were quite lucid during previous press interviews, in my opinion.

When We Tell the Truth, Everyone Wins

The most dangerous lie that we will ever tell, is the lie that we keep telling ourselves, whether collectively or individually. Such as the persistent lie that tells us we are wrong when we are right, and the lie that tells us we are right when we are wrong!

Within a democracy, a good police force is society’s first line of defense. It protects and serves its citizens and those in charge of society. When police dogma begins to see itself as a power separate from those it has sworn to protect and serve, despite the cause, society slowly gets the message and loses trust in its police force. Eventually, the police adopt the old us-against-them mentality. Soon, an undeclared war between the police and its people likely begins.

Whether its leadership care to admit it or not, society begins falling apart as fear is now in charge and the blame game begins. As we know, or should know, fear is a treacherous companion.

The police blame the people, usually those that are historically marginalized by society, and the so-called hero’s of the day, the politicians, rise up blaming the very same people by promising an all out war on crime and such.

Sadly, though the numbers may change, this fictitious war on crime is never won. Since rarely is the truth sought. That is, until the people have had enough and takes to the streets demanding justice, which is where we are today. But, of course, we have been here before. So how do we get out of it this time?

First, as the young troubadour says at the beginning herein, “Tell the truth”!

And since this current mess between the police and the people started at the top, our leaders must no longer be allowed to protect the cop who has failed; or, to protect the abusive cop who, much like the abusive parent, must no longer be tolerated by society.

Being human, we are quite capable of transferring our anger and hatefulness, unless stopped by our own sense of justice. So, like the rest of us, cops must also be responsible for their actions. No job is so dangerous that qualified workers cannot be held responsible for their failures.

Many veteran cops have never had to draw their weapons, nor do they become abusers. So they must be doing something right. Thus rules, regulations and self-disciple are highly valued by good cops and good people everywhere. Which is why truth and justice denied will ultimately destroy a well-ordered society despite its good intentions.

Preventing Police Abuse

Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, the police and firefighters who, without hesitation, sacrificed their own lives by going into the collapsing World Trade Center to save the injured while the able were frantically trying to get out, not only captured the world’s adoration but instantly became our national heroes. Sadly, as widespread police abuse intensifies, now caught on video, the adoration so nobly gained on 9-11 is slowly fading away.

Besides giving today’s good cops a very bad name, police abusers and their cover-ups have now turned our criminal justice system upside down.

Please fix this! As justice, or the lack thereof, ultimately affects the moral standard in any given society. Hence, justice for one is justice for all.

Much like stopping the abusive parent, the abusive cleric, and the abusive teacher, society must now admit that some police officers are abusers. And then make a concerted effort to prevent police abuse before the police officer spins out of control, rather than afterwards!

Thus, I still believe that a good way to deter police abuse is to enable the people to complain directly to their government about a troubling encounter with an abusive police officer, at all levels if necessary, and store such in a data system with a file number for reference.

Naturally, those police officers who tend to abuse, or resent others in general, will likely object loud and clear; and present all kinds of reasons why they should not be held directly accountable to the people they have sworn to serve and protect. But that’s to be expected.

Telling The Truth Matters

Recently, Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, a veteran police officer in McKinney Texas was suspended after a shocking video emerged, now gone viral on YouTube titled ‘Cops Crash Pool Party’, showing the raging officer shouting obscenities at some of the teenage party guests while soon manhandling a bikini clad African American female, age 14, and threatening to put her in jail if she doesn’t be quiet.

Besides pulling her hair, throwing her on the ground and pinning her face down with his knee until she is cuffed, seemly for no apparent reason, the officer drew his gun on the children coming to her aid as she frantically cried out: “ Call my mama and please don’t hurt me”.

Read more at: Texas police officer pulling gun on teenagers at pool party. Seems race played a factor as usual, read: Texas Pool Party Chaos, What Role Did Race Play and ‘Go back to your Section 8 home’. Expert news analysts on CNN and MSNBC basically stated the officer was definitely out of control. The kids were released; an investigation is now ongoing.

Thankfully, no one was killed…this time, though mentally and emotionally injured perhaps, which is also abusive. Yet, this was a highly trained police officer, a 15-year veteran. Who not only acted out of character but, by barking obscenities at some rather than speaking respectfully to all at the scene, he failed miserably on a potentially dangerous call.

Thus, when police officers fail, telling the truth matters. This is not only tantamount to ensuring stability in our criminal justice system, but stops police abuse that generally escalates violence rather than restore the peace.

If we can go to the moon, we can stop police abuse! Please tell the truth, it matters.

Update: Cpl. David Casebolt, the abusive police officer in the Texas pool party incident, has now resigned. Yet the situation is likely not over given talk of law suits and such. Related story here: Police Officer at Texas Pool Party Resigns Over Incident Caught on Video.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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Fear knocked, Faith answered, and no one was there! —Christian Proverb

Recently, I purchased the 1977 television miniseries collection of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” based on the celebrated book by Alex Haley, and watched all of the episodes back-to-back. Still very compelling, it was like watching ‘Roots’ for the first time.   Today, Root’s artistic excellence still attests to the power of motion pictures and television.

Yet, the haunting fact still remains that most of Hollywood has neither been very fair nor fully considerate of African American life, and other people of color, since its beginning. And, in many respects, continues to this day.

However, so great was this undertaking and its historic impact, it is tempting to feel, at least for the moment, that perhaps ‘Roots’ makes up for all the times that we Africans Americans have been patently ignored, cruelly maligned or simply dismissed by Hollywood’s movie moguls and the choices they made. But, of course, we can’t.

The pain is too deep and the need to see our life stories reflected back to us is too great, which is a basic human need that cannot be denied. Still, we never stopped going to the movies.

Perhaps this is what lies at the heart of the outrage recently expressed by many of our country’s finest African American citizens. Who felt the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) “Oscar snubs”[1] yet again. While other fair-minded Americans deemed the 2015 annual event would be the “whitest Oscars since 1998”[2].

Having received few nominations out of many possibilities, ‘Selma’ for best picture and ‘Glory’ for best song, naturally many of us were disappointed and rightly wondered if Hollywood will ever “fix its diversity problem?”[3]. Well, at least ‘Glory’ won for best song.

‘Roots’ is on Y’all

In the 70s, still there were very few opportunities to see good productions of African American life on television or in the movies. And so, while we joke about it now, whenever a Black person was on television, we would call our friends. Thus, with the first episode of Roots about to be shown on television, we celebrated like many other folks. We threw a Roots Watching party! With food, wine, and our very own reviews, ‘Roots’ proved a memorable event.

Of course, no one could ever have imagined how great this historic production would be, not even its producers. Well, the story of Roots, our story, was lauded worldwide eventually. The local ratings went off the charts, so to speak, and the Roots Miniseries would ultimately receive countless nominations and awards. Naturally, David L. Wolper and the Network executives, who would later admit to being very apprehensive about Roots’ social impact, were not only relived but very, very happy indeed.

The Real Purpose of the Arts

Thus, a big thanks to David Wolper, Stan Margulies, Brandon Stoddard and all the gifted actors who had the moral courage to create ‘Roots’ for television. And, of course, the soaring music of Gerald Fried and Quincy Jones that drove the ‘Roots’ saga continues to inspire us all.

Yet, while Roots reportedly changed the world and the many perceptions about what the African American slaves actually went through, its greatest gift was to African American life itself; which ultimately uplifted us all. Thus forever illustrating the real purpose of the arts, which is to edify the human spirit!

And so, while David Wolper and the others hold a special place in our hearts, Kunta Kinte and Alex Haley would ultimately become our national heroes.

The Importance of Soul Memory

Human memory is very unreliable. Thus, if most of us even try to remember exactly what we wore a week ago, unless it was a uniform, we would have a hard time trying. Yet, there is another kind of memory, I’ve found, that is more real than all the material facts we can muster. This is what I’ve come to think of as soul memory.

Soul memory: It’s that kind of knowing deep within us that resonates with a familiarity way beyond our physical world. Yet, we always seem to know that we know.

For me it has always been through my love of music and dance. Sadly, I did not have the live stories, an African name, or a few key words handed down to me, as did Mr. Haley. But, since my early years, I did have my soul memories.

One Saturday afternoon while setting outside after watching King Solomon’s Mines, images of the proud African dancers featured in this Hollywood film came to mind, and I got up and danced. Soon the neighborhood kids gathered around cheering me on. After that, my playmates would ask me to do the African dance…soul memories, of course!

Seems some cynics went all Sherlock Homes on Alex Haley and his precious stories, which took him some twelve years to research and write in a way that fit human logic. Sadly, those skeptics who sought to validate Mr. Haley’s each and every word, likely missed the message of Kunta Kinte entirely.

Yet, I’ve learned another thing about soul memory, seems those who are open to the truth will know the truth and thus be freed of a lot of bitter illusions.

Hence, why the world and African Americans, in particular, continues to embrace the Haley family’s Kunta Kinte experience as part of their own life experience, and thus have found peace and a greater sense of belonging.

This, of course, is exactly what the “the African” [4] known as Kunta Kinte struggled so hard to preserve as the slavers brutally tried to expunge his native memories. Memories of his Ancestral homeland so that, one day, we all will remember. So that we all can be proud!

See here [5] for a wonderful Alex Haley interview by Tom Brokaw, and other commentaries such as ‘Roots One Year Later’ and Remembering Roots’.

Kunta Kinte and the Roots Legacy

Since the gift of ‘Roots’ entered our world, the African American community has evolved significantly.  From more proudly wearing African cloths and African influenced hairstyles, to exploring and honoring its intrinsic African heritage.

Thus, the Black Family Reunion is probably ‘Roots’ greatest legacy. Which has become an African American tradition that usually includes a proud review of family history.

Yet, the Kunta Kinte and Roots legacy continues. Today, we can be more  proud than ever, as African Americans now control much of their own music and some their own television networks. More Blacks are on national television, creating their own films or television programs, have created their own awards events, run their own businesses, and are leading politicians. And, of course, we now have the first African American president and his lovely family in the White House.

And so, thanks in great part to Alex Haley’s Roots, in many ways we have evolved rather quickly. Yet the world is changing even faster, or so it seems. Still, we are not yet finished, as we must do our part to help others along the way.

Beyond Roots 

Today, there is still much fear in the world both nationally and internationally. Thus a good self-image is always our first line of defense. Nationally, ending police abuse is the new civil rights movement. While globally, seems radical extremists are calling for inclusion and respect, but are going in the wrong direction!

And so, with the same courage and dedication of those who have gone before us, we continue moving forward, stopping only to reach out to those lingering behind.

Thus, lest we not forget the fierce courage of Kunta Kinte, the quiet courage of Alex Haley, and the moral courage of ‘Roots’ producers David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies and ABC executive, Brandon Stoddard, thus we move on and in the right direction!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.


[1] ‘Spike Lee Blasts ‘Selma’ Oscar Snubs’ by Marlow Stern: www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/15/spike-lee-blasts-selma-oscar-snubs-you-know-what-f-ck-em.html

[2] ‘This Will Be The Whitest Oscars Since 1998’ by Lauren Duca: www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/15/whitest-oscars_n_6466052.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment

[3] ‘Can Hollywood Fix Its Diversity Problem?’ by Julie Walker: www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/02/can_hollywood_fix_its_diversity_problem.1.html

[4] My Furthest Back Person—’The African’ by Alex Haley, July 16, 1972: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_my_furthest_back_person_the_african.htm

[5] In 1976, Alex Haley spoke with Tom Brokaw; see other videos: ‘Roots: One Year Later’, ‘Remembering Roots’ and others: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_video_interviews.htm

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