Destination Toronto: Porter Airlines is the Only Way
Its Carnival season in many of the Caribbean islands and for the 2nd year in a row I celebrated the 1st weekend of August in Toronto for Caribana. There’s no shortage of island flavour in my home of New York but there is an interesting energy that I feel up north and I’m glad to be able to enjoy it. Caribana weekend was also reason to fly with Porter Airlines which over the past year has jumped to the top of my personal favorites list.
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Picasso – The Redefinition of Art???
Having returned home for an extended weekend celebrating Caribana I finally sat down to catch up on a few things. I caught some the Internets buzzing about this “Performance Art” video for “Picasso Baby” that Jay-Z was dropping. We’re still in full Hov overload right now so I made it a point to wait before I watched this video. I’ve seen many folk react to it as a “Masterpiece” and others say they “can’t stand it.” I guess its time to judge for myself as I once again navigate between extreme reactions.
I gave this video a few spins last night and truthfully its nice. It’s different in that it’s not video models, expensive cars and liquor bottles on display as is he make up of most videos currently in rotation. But with that said I stop short of calling it ground breaking art. Hip Hop has always been a performance art. I see this as shout out to Hip Hops basic principals.
There was nothing wrong with the imagery of this video, but in my mind when I saw this I thought back to Nas’s classic “Nas Is Like” Set in the streets and various other locales of NY. Nas rhymes traditionally to the camera while interacting on the move with the people.
“Picasso” to me seems like the stationary, cleaned up safe version of that style. It’s almost like what would you get if you had Jay-Z over to rhyme at a baby shower. It’s closed, private with not much risk of problems. Again it was different and I think that combined with the marketing powerhouse that is Jay-Z is what makes this seem so grand. Could another artist do this and get the same artistic fanfare? If Lupe Fiasco or Pharoahe Monch did this would it still be heralded as great art or just a cool new video? It’s the power of perspective.
When something doesn’t strike me the way it strikes others I’m not going to bash it for the sake of a response. I want to gain something new from the possible conversation it can create. So from those more Artistic than myself whats so special (not different but special) about “Picasso Baby?”
Keep the conversation going by following my on Twitter at @TrueOmegaNexus
You may also like these previously posted Jay-Z stories I wrote for ClassyBlackGirl as well.
The Double Edge of Fame
In the past few days I’ve observed and engaged in a few conversations about charity. Talking points have ranged from Jay-Z vs Harry Belafonte to Dr Dre’s donations in southern California to Oprah’s work in Africa to Lebron James’s “arrogance.” The truth is that we as a people view those that come from our community and reach the highest of public heights and success in a manner that is very odd to me. I elected to step away from the conversations as they began to repeat and recycle the same predictable commentary and I knew I wanted to address the underline issue but not in the manner that others were. Then it struck me as I remembered two things my friend and Nomadness Travel Tribe partner Evita Robinson said not to long ago.
“Celebrities don’t get paid for what they do but rather what they have to deal with.”
And more recently she admitted to “..wanting fame because of the influence and the ability to make change that comes with it.” This made me not want to bother talking about those that have already made it but rather talk to those pushing, working and building for their own success and legacy.
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Crusade Against Cancer via Utter Intuition
This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to be invited to a great event in NYC. Hudson River Cafe in Harlem played host to Crusade Against Cancer put together by Kat Reyes & Hazel Veras of Utter Intuition. I love home grown functions like this and with the fund raising going toward Cancer awareness, spirits were high as great music played on a beautiful Summer afternoon.
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Where Did The Love Go??
From the Blog Closet Originally posted June 18th 2012
Been meaning to write this for a quite awhile now. “Inspiration” though was never lacking……I’m getting thoughts off my mind about the effects of love on my people. From my simple vantage point I observe so much. 99% of the time I do so in silence. We’re all adults here so at this point of my life I let folk do what they do. I’ve posted before that love is the most powerful force of Earth, but I’m also thinking that Fear doesn’t rank too far below it. The fear of being alone, that seems to be so much at the heart of the thing I’m seeing recently. Tale after tale, story upon story of unqualified lames and lowlifes, grown man wannabes and pretenders being chosen by women who deserve better….who know better. None lacking for intelligence, self respect or common sense yet stoically I look upon the events that play out without a shred of surprise.
What transformed yesterdays “love of her life” into today’s bane of a her existence. Such changes happen more often then I can count. Was he that vile being to begin with and merely put on an awarding winning acting performance? Was he genuinely a good guy that was somehow twisted into this new person by events I’m not privy to? I mean its also true that after a certain point you can’t merely blame the “other” person. You put enough unsuccessful social dealings on your record and you have to look into that mirror and re-evaluate what you bring to the problem, who you interact with, who you attract, etc…..
Maybe it’s the Summer season and emotions are hot and heavy but the “interesting” interactions and questionable moves are at an all time high. Russian roulette within the sheets, jumping off a cliff with a “Love” umbrella hopeful it will slow down your descent. You see this isn’t about judgement. This isn’t anything I take joy in being right about. I HATE seeing my people, especially my female friends hurt and distraught. But I’m a realist and I can’t cry and sob when decisions lack a certain degree of common sense. No, love has no blueprint or official game plan but the sky is still blue, water is still wet and we as people are given enough to make better decisions then I witness. Is the fear of being alone that over powering? Does it really allow you to over look the disrespect, abuse, lies, violence and hope against hope that things work out? What are the standards and requirements applied to being that man? Your Man? Or is it something that just sounds nice to proclaim. I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen it fail. Happiness does have certain requirements and in truth everyone doesn’t have it.
At times I wish I could just beat the life out of these guys…….would definitely be a bit therapeutic. Or better yet I just wish my folks success to failure ratio would balance off a little more…..
Same Love……Different Priorities
While knocking out some morning errands I turned the radio from the local news to Hot 97. I was curious to see what they were talking about and if it was worth listening to. The topic of the morning conversation focused around a recently released song from Hip Hop artist Macklemore’s titled “Same Love”. It is a song about same sex love and the Hot 97 Morning show had opened the phone lines to get the thoughts of the people about if the song should be played. Hip Hop’s Alpha Male stance towards homosexuality (at least the male/male variety) is well documented. As I listened to the crew speak on the subject I found my thoughts going in another direction in regards to Hip Hops “progression”.
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From the Blog Closet Originally posted April 29th 2012
Look What You’ve Made Me (Black Man in America)
It’s funny what one conversation can do to/for you. Having a casual chat with good company then finding yourself in a personal moment of self examination and deep perspective change.
Let’s set the stage a bit. I’m a 31 yr old man……a Black Man……..a Black Man in America. That’s what I am. It is not all that I am but if you ask me how I view myself then that’s what you’ll get. That comes with much good, much bad, much ugly. To this point in my life everyone I’ve dealt with understood what that means without need of explanation or clarification. In my world pre Toronto, that was just how it was. There was never a questioning of that. Issues of race come up all the time but always with the understanding of where I was coming from. As America’s 1st Black President prepares for re-election season, the nation’s racial tensions have been on an extreme wave that I’ve never seen before….case in point Trayvon Martin. Trayvon’s name sparks those sensitive convo’s pretty consistently. That was the case last Saturday…..
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From the Blog Closet Originally posted April 12th 2012
“Never mix business with pleasure”
That’s what we’re told right? For years that made perfect sense to me and in truth it still does but as I look around I wonder if a change in how social relationships are developing is resulting in the need to adjust this rule. As so many of the women I know look up to and aim for Will & Jada or Jay & Bey like relationships, it strikes me that these folk are all about the interlocked paths of business and pleasure.
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As I get set up on this new blog I’ll routinely post older content from my blogging past. They’ll be stored in the category “Blog Closet.” It’s a great way to get familiar with me and some of what I’ve done over the previous yrs.
This is Jason Francis known to many as Nightfall, Blu Flame, BlacC Yankee, etc, etc….This is my new blogging lair. From this point forward this is where I share thoughts with the world. Some of you may know me from Blu Flame Blvd but fear not. The Blvd will remain active as my personal outlet but for my more polished and professional work this is the go to stop.
I’m looking forward to steadily transforming this corner of the Internet into a hub for great content