Dear American Citizen:

Can we please stop fighting each other over politics? None of this matters. Democrat vs Republican vs Independent vs Green Party, etc. It does not matter.

They all serve the same banks, lobbyists, special interests, etc, who give them $100,000, $150,000, $200,000 donations, etc, to pass certain legislation beneficial to them, thus making them more money. CNN doesn’t talk about this because they serve the same special interests.

It’s all a show. It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s capitalism. America is a money making machine and the elite have gotten very good at it. Politicians do not care about you at all. Zero. All they care about is being rich and powerful, having their brownstone house, their condo on the beach, their town car gassed and private school for their kid, so they can be rich and powerful like them.

Your best bet is to get money and take care of yourself and your loved ones because no one is going to help you, especially these politicians. I reiterate: They do not care.

How do I know? Because I have lobbyist and politician friends on Capitol Hill who told me so. You guys think drug deals are gangsters. You’ve got it twisted. Politicians are the biggest gangsters on the planet. They’ll kill 10,000 people with a pen stroke and a smile and lie about it on national TV and get away with it and sleep like a baby.

I almost don’t even blame politicians. If someone paid you $100,000 to pass a bill and 100,000 people voted for you not to, but didn’t pay you anything, who would you listen to? You better believe that most politicians would deposit that check. And chances are you would too. It’s get your own, handle your own out here. Survival of the fittest. It’s just the facts of life.

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Dear Black People:

My Pops always said that racism is definitely real but don’t use it as an excuse for failure. Even in slavery times, if Blacks were exceptional they could win their freedom. So, don’t get a chip on your shoulder.

Simplify the problem. The best way to get back at racist people or people who hate you is to be successful. So, instead of dwelling on negativity, focus everyday on ways to become successful and you will be.

Obviously, slavery was wrong and it was evil. That goes without saying. And, I’m not trying to assign blame because that’s not the point and that’s not helpful. I’m trying to give you a solution. Racism is an obstacle. So, overcome it. There’s a famous saying that goes life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Newsflash: old rich racist white people are not going to help you. People don’t give away power. It just doesn’t happen. You have to take the power into your own hands. And, guess what, white people have obstacles too. Suffering is universal to the human condition. There are no excuses in life. Either, you get it done. Or, you don’t. And, you have no one to blame but yourself if you are unhappy with your life because you and God alone have the power to change it. It comes down to choice. Overcome racism or succumb to it. The choice is yours and yours alone.

House Music Yacht Party

Captivated by the music
I enjoyed a happy space

Graced by the presence of her
I still felt alone but comfortable

My brother gave me a great word
I felt peace

It all seemed to coincide
at this moment

When I Iooked out at the water
I didn’t know where
one wave ended
and one began

On a ride against the tide
I felt an ocean of emotions

I searched across the water
feeling the beat
searching for my place in all this
I was just as confused
and jumbled
as the partygoers dancing madly
Entering each other’s spaces
and leaving just as quickly

I felt the urge to dance
and put down my pen
I took my lady by the hand
and said, “Let’s dance”

I will be eternally grateful
that I didn’t sit it out

By Thomas Agbonyitor

I used to love h.e.r.

I used to love h.e.r. By h.e.r., I mean hip-hop, as exemplified by Common’s classic record. Now, I love H.E.R., the R&B songstress. It’s funny how things change.

I used to sit in my room for hours listening to the latest tapes and CDs I bought from the record store. I would sit by my boom box all day just to catch my favorite songs on the radio and record them to make mixtapes. Artists like Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr and the Wu Tang Clan permeated the halls of my suburban home from behind the closed door of my 3rd floor bedroom.

I could always relate to hip-hop, although I always felt partly removed from it. Hip-hop was from the streets. I certainly wasn’t. My interaction with the streets came from playing street basketball and going to parties and go-go’s.

During the day time, I was at private school, busting jokes with my homies at lunch and macking on chicks in the hallways. I got very good grades, but not as good as my sister’s. She went to Harvard. So, did my mom (RIP). My dad was an economist at the World Bank.

I grew up with a privileged background. It was much different than the lives of the rap stars I looked up to. But, it was still the music in my heart. Its stories were the closest I could find to my experience as a young black male in America. I was far from a nerd. Girls loved me. I was tall, handsome and athletic and filled with anger and aggression at the oppressive American system and what I saw as moral weaknesses at certain people I encountered.

In hip-hop music I found like-minded individuals who yearned for change. When I discovered Black on Both Sides by Mos Def, I had found my favorite album and my favorite song, “Umi Says.” Hip-hop music had violence, drugs and misogyny from early on. But, it had redemptive qualities. It told the truth, a truth that wasn’t being told in the mainstream media. It was a serious art form. MCs took care in their lyrics. Producers created hot beats with beautiful melodies. Hip-hop was something to appreciate.

Now the youth listen to artists like Tekashi 69, Lil’ Xan and Lil’ Uzi Vert, etc and think it’s good music. They don’t know any better. I used to be excited to rip off the plastic on a new album from a record store. Now I illegally download the latest trash records onto my laptop so I can DJ at parties for millennials and younger audiences.

I get jealous of earlier eras of music. The 60’s had Motown artists like Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross. The 70’s had Soul Train, Marvin Gaye and the Stylistics. The 80’s had Prince, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. We have Jay-Z, I guess. That’s actually somewhat laughable compared to the names I mentioned.

Call me a cultural critic and I’ll say I’m just observant. What if I told you there was a musical genre and culture that glorified murder, drug dealing, adultery, premarital sex, wasting money, disrespecting women and other crimes. You might say that music must have come from the devil. Currently, hip-hop culture, which highly influences black culture is morally bankrupt. We are in need of change, desperately. As Mos Def said on Black on Both Sides, “We are hip-hop.” We need to change our culture for the good of society and humanity, really.

Don’t get it twisted. There is good hip-hop out there. Artists from the new generation like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar come to mind. It’s just for the most part good artists like them don’t get popularized. A lot of that has to do with record label executives restricting the type of music artists can make. They think gangsta music equals dollars. But the blame doesn’t lie solely with them. It’s on us. People still support the terrible music rappers make these days.

I’m in love with a different woman now. I’ll keep playing H.E.R. songs on repeat until the original love of my life decides to come home.

Happy Thanksgiving

While I recognize the original Thanksgiving is not what they say it was, in fact, they were celebrating the massacre of Native Americans in a battle, I believe it’s ok to celebrate gratitude and thankfulness if you give the holiday its own meaning. That being said, happy Thanksgivng! I’m grateful to God for being alive and for all my infinite blessings. All glory and praise to the most high.