I Am Black Gold


I Am my natural resource.

I AM renewed by my heritage.

I AM enriched by my self-cultivation and rooted in my ancestry.

I AM the richness of the world. I AM Black Gold.

Shawndel Fraser 2014

Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society

This song and video remind me of my childhood in Harlem and my adulthood in Brooklyn New York. My New York childhood was full of teachers who embraced and espied the fullness of our African heritage. My family reveled in our Caribbean ways, and my adulthood is chock full of friends and peers who expertly interweave identity rooted in a self-love so deliciously chocolate that neo-soul is but a watery description of the depth and richness of our “Negritude”. I have gloried in Harlem sunrises, Brooklyn BBQ’s, mid-day Guyana rains,  Ghanaian Sunsets,  family dinners in Mexico and basked in Costa Rican love songs. In each place I was made aware of just how golden my Blackness is by immersion, contrast or just plain awesomeness. I adore this song and video for reminding me of my path, my people and my home-place. Thank You Esperanza and Algebra!

Ashe.

As I awaken from my multi-year cocooning, I emerge to Esperanza’s ode to and celebration of cultural richness and historic significance.

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In New York, if you See something, Blog something!


MTA campaign encouraging us to "police" one another.

Dear Thinkers,

Post 9/11 New York has seen an increasing level of anxiety inducing measures enforced upon the MTA Subway. From not-so-random bag searches, to machine-gun at the ready soldiers at 34th Street, to the ubiquitous “See Something, Say Something” posters with the disembodied pairs of censuring eyes that haunt you all the way home. Even  f you are innocent of wrongdoing…really, when WAS the last time you did your public-transportation based civic duty and reported your suspicions about a fellow MTA rider?

Well, I rarely encounter truly shady seeming folks on the subway, but I sure as hell see some wackiness on the streets of New York City, not the least of which are pressurized Nitrogen canisters on major thoroughfares like 34th Street and Park Avenue as  you see here. I took pictures like these over the course of 4 separate days, each time, noting that nothing is being said aboput this thing that we can all clearly, SEE. In the photo below you can see where the nitrogen leak presents as a white frost on the exterior of these 5ft tall canisters.

The white frost indicates a leak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a pic of a pedestrian walking calmly by…

Somebody tell me again…why is this okay? How could it possibly be safe and why is no one saying anything?

 

 

 

 

 

Someone like this this Traffic Cop, he might be the best possible person to report such a public hazard…

 

Or maybe, Panopticon spying on fellow citizens using our preconceived notions and biases is fruitless. How about we hold authorities accountable instead of turning in other civilians.

 

As of November, these canisters were removed with little fanfare. The Gothamist reported in 2008 that these canisters were harmless under most any possible NYC experience. I don’t know how deeply I believe it, but I am willing to believe that most of what any frazzled, almost broke, time-constrained New Yorker could dish out would increase the danger potential of these canisters. Doesn’t it then stand to logic that the See Something, Say Something Campaign is a ruse at making us feel secure? The 9/11 attacks affected the trains but did not originate there, why make an already mostly unpleasant riding experience rife with social spying and mistrust.

Last Leaf’s Flip Book Animation on Toast!


Hey there my fellow Thinkers!

VIDEO: LAST LEAF by OK GO

Take a gander at this video by OK Go for their song Last Leaf. As a disciple and fan of novel forms of visuality (practice and media) in our visually cluttered world, this video is tops with me. the golden char on the pieces of toast serve as sepia toned background for the semi-related images in the foreground. The images don’t directly match the lyrics, however the emotions invoked by those images match the tone – harmonically and lyrically of the song. I see a real mastery of the media used by all those involved; mastery, a la martial arts, the visual artists involved (for example Geoff McFetridge), clearly have expert knowledge of their tools.  The band or at least their publicity team seems very aware of what “indie” is on the internet, in fact they say so on the BIO page of their website. Such a multilevel awareness shows itself as they cater to the medium of the internet with a quirky video, while simultaneously creating the indie quirky culture they seem to represent.  This very point is why I linked this entry to the Frontline Episode of the Persuaders wherein advertisers co-opt culture, repackage it, take it mainstream, and in so many careless hands, eventually destroys the essence which made it special in the first place.

I am a thinking, feeling person aimed toward growth in comprehension and stillness. I have no quarrel with the band OK Go, nor the skilled visual and production artists or marketing mavens that crafted and packaged this video. i took a peek at their tour schedule for the past year, fabulous stops I might add, and noted that the Billy-burg hipsters bought out ALL of the tickets when band OK Go performed here in Brooklyn. The hipsters have their own unique culture over there, and I can’t help but wonder whether this band (that they love so much) actually represents that hipster je ne sais quoi, or if their sponsored partnership with Samsung is the beginning of the very repackaging, mainstreaming and dilution of hipster culture. Truthfully, every blog, tweet and the inevitable proliferation of this neat music video futher seals this fate..

Woo Woo…Meta…

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Shawndel Frasera Haiku:

Visual Research
BloggingTweeting Leader
and Academic