Let me start by saying, I am writing this as an artist. I am writing this as a student of life. I am not a political blogger therefore I am assuming you are already abreast of the controversy surrounding one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. I do not usually provide commentary on societal trends. I am writing this as a tortured creative soul. I am writing this as a lover of hip hop. I am writing this as an optimist.
I love hip hop. I will not mourn Kanye West. I do not agree with his political views. I am not even sure Kanye West agrees with his political views! I’m celebrating the parts of him that I can morally subscribe to…his genius. I will even go so far as to say that I am astounded by his acceptance of himself and of others. He has been saying that he is “leading with love” and that he loves every creature who walked the earth.
I am perplexed by the dichotomy dwelling in Kanye West. He is talented and articulate. He is a wordsmith. Yet, he is thinking clearly (kinda) and he is not successfully conveying the true intent of his actions and thoughts. In fact, when one mentions that he may be “hurting others” you can see the distress and the SUDDEN awareness on his face as he carefully chooses his words. How does this happen?
People will take something enlightening, put it in a different context and then call it crazy. To try to diminish the impact and the value of what I’m actually saying. -Kanye West
I was born in 1985. The artists who have impacted my generation in an astounding way all had a common motif …they were “crazy.” I don’t even have to mention their names. You’re thinking of them right now: Michael Jackson, Prince, Left Eye, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston…
They were judged when they were alive. They were called icons and legends when they died. Food for thought: We studied the poetry of Tupac Shakur at Pace University post his death. We studied the lyrics and videos of Lady Gaga in English Literature at Stonybrook University. Her “enlightened viewpoints” were compared to the great Edgar Allen Poe. What measurement do we use to distinguish the difference between brilliance and insanity?
But I know the view is that I’m emotionally unstable, which is reality. Like you aren’t?-Lauryn Hill
One of the most terrible things we do to artists is forget to separate their human form from their ethereal imaginative alter egos. We have to consider that in order for a person who is of this world to create something out of this world, he or she has to remove their consciousness from the boundaries and constraints of what is accepted as “normal.”
Bravery is more important than perfection.-Kanye West
I am actually scared to publish this post. What will you do tomorrow, Mr. West? What hat will you wear tomorrow, Mr. West? Will you forget this girl from South Jamaica Queens who bumped “The College Dropout” in my 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix? Will you forget this wannabee rebel who had “The wise man say, you’ll find your way
The wise man say, you’ll find your way” scribbled on the back of my favorite denim jacket?* This fake actress-Spike Lee geek was glued to the computer screen when you had the balls to release your own full length film, “Runaway.” I’ve never considered myself a “fan” of anyone really but the respect I have for your talent and perseverance is immeasurable.
I see your pain but I see your passion. I can disregard the blond hair and the liposuction because that is just a physical representation of a spirit who is lost on a level that he wasn’t fully prepared to ascend to.
We don’t want to mourn you, Sir. We want to be moved by your music and motivated by your mystique. Get out.
What I see here is nothing but a shell…what is most important is invisible.- Antoine de Saint Exupery (The Little Prince)
By: Shaun Liriano
*Lyrics from Pinocchio Story by Kanye West (808’s & Heartbreak)
On April 8, 2016 we had an incredibly blessed night! Shaun Liriano Poetic Productions had a poetry showcase in Saint Albans Queens. I want to thank the performers and everyone who came out to support “Love is a Verb.” I can not articulate how amazing the experience was. The energy took my breath away. Stay tuned for more events and write me on Twitter @ShutyaMouthNow , Facebook Shaunee Liriano and subscribe to our BRAND NEW YouTube Shaun Liriano.
Serina Young is creative arts director of Synergism Dance Company. She began dancing at the age of 4 and continued to study dance at LIU. Her passion for the arts has led her to start her own dance company. Synergism provides the arts to artists of all ages and all levels.
Janessa Terry has been dancing with St Benedict School of Dance since 2005. She is an instructor in Brooklyn and also a high school mentor. Janessa is also an assistant teaching artist under the Urban Arts Partnership. She graduated Forest Hills High School in 2014.
James Jones Jr. is a musician, arranger, composer, vocalist and music director. He is also the VP of Jenjillus Music Corporation. James is the son of Jimmy “Handyman” Jones. James has music on Jango.com (Radio airplay), YouTube and Amazon. His new CD is entitled “Chains of Love.”
Carlin is a R&B /Pop singer , songwriter, and producer. You can check out his music at carlinsmusic.com.
He also has a radio show at BlogTalkRadio.
Chinna Njoku has been dancing since she was 7 years old under the direction of Mrs. Frances Rhymes and Mrs. Terri Rhymes-Lowery. She says, “I came in with two left feet and they molded me into the dancer and the woman I am today.”
Devin Olivas is a loving father, husband, and musician. He is a Queens native who enjoys the arts. Currently he is pursuing a degree in special education.
So much love in the building…
If you’d like a demo cd please comment below or email me at email@example.com
James Jones Jr. is a musician in every sense of the title. He is an arranger, composer, vocalist, and musical director. He is the vice president of the Jenjillus Music Corporation. One of the artists he worked closely with was his late father and music mogul, Jimmy “Handyman” Jones. Jimmy is best known for his 1960 hit “Handyman.” “Handyman” was released in 1959 and gave Jones his first US and UK hit single. James Jones Jr directed Jimmy in the recording studio as well as all live performances. They did numerous shows and sold out tours including The United Kingdom and The Greek Amphitheater in Los Angeles California. James Jones Jr is hoping to give honor to his father’s legacy but also to leave his own unique signature on the music industry. His new CD has been released on the JenJillus Label and it is entitled, “Chains Of Love”. The album is a compilation of love songs with a plethora of background vocals and upbeat tempos. It’s what I call “step music.” Catchy lyrics and the musicality is just plain ol’ FUN!
You enter the small room. There’s a phone on the wall to call the bar and grill if you need some more “liquid courage. ” The room is dimly lit. There is a large screen, seating and binders on the table with thousands of song choices. What song are you looking for?
My two go to choices are always:
Hotel California by The Eagles ” Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” And in the master’s chambers, They gathered for the feast They stab it with their steely knives, But they just can’t kill the beast”
And 911 by Wyclef Jean feat Mary J
[Mary J. Blige]
Sometimes I feel like I’m a prisoner
I think I’m trapped here for a while
(but I’m always right here with you girl)
And every breath I fight to take
Is as hard as these four walls I wanna break
I told the cops you wasn’t here tonight
Messin’ around with me is gonna get you life
Oh yeah, yeah
But everytime I look into your eyes
Then it’s worth the sacrifice”
I sing those songs at the top of my lungs including all the riffs and ad libs! I sing them and I’m reminded of my first Karaoke machine (a gift from Santa.) I would record songs straight from the radio on blank tapes. If you weren’t careful you would record the commercials by accident. So I would stand attentively next to the karaoke machine and hit stop just before the disk jockey would announce the song that just played.
My dad used to blast Hotel California from the basement. I couldn’t appreciate the lyrics when I was younger. As an adult I recognize how truly creative they really are. They tell a great story. You envision a place so beautiful becoming a prison, a place you can’t escape from. The contrast is the fact that in between the lyrical stanzas are beautiful instrumental solos playing so freely. You can hear the liberation. I envied the talent and had to just be complacent in my air playing on my electric hairbrush.
Someone wise once defined love this way: “Love is insanity.” Music often encapsulates that sentiment. So many songs. So much expression. So many emotions. So many other undefined anomalies. So many antithetical ideas placed carefully on the music staff. What’s your song? What plays on the “old school at noon” that makes you throw your hand in the air? What are you vigorously looking for in those binders? Share with me in the comments.
Everyone thinks they’re special but you really are
Like the hembra and the macho bongos
Our hearts beat together and make beautiful percussion
You really are
A shining light
I can see from afar
Deep in the darkness
And everything they think you are crazy for believing in
And for every time they tried to control you with hatred
And for everyone who still doesn’t “get” you
And I think you’re special.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Shutyamouthandcallmeugly!
Recently I went to an annual gathering with some close friends from college. We’ve been doing it since we were in school. We used to do secret Santa and potluck. We’d play games and tell stories. Over time our lives have evolved. Everyone is pushing thirty and growing families. So last year we brought our significant others. We had a great time and the guys got better acquainted with one another. This year it was ladies only.
We ate food we couldn’t pronounce at a cute restaurant in the city. Then we walked down the block to a little lounge. Now it was only 9:30 so no one was there but that was OK! We have always been that way. Never needed to fraternize in order to have fun. Just us girls, a comfortable place and maybe a couple of drinks and we would certainly have some laughs. Besides most of us have children now and have to do the mommy thing when we get home.
We sat in the lounge laughing with one another and seat dancing to the music. I glanced at my friend in a leopard mini-dress and envied the fact that her shower must be long enough to shave above the knee. With my crying little one, I have to make it quick. Sometimes shaving gets cut! I donned leather pants and a fur vest. The others were in cute and classy ensembles. We were all equally excited to see one another. There was only one issue…the music.
I don’t know if he was warming up but DJ Pandemic (or something like that) just couldn’t quite get it together. He would cut songs at the wrong time. He would let some songs play out too long. It just wasn’t going well for him. Then it happened!
DJ Terrible (or something like that) played “Love U Better” (2002) LL Cool J. Everyones head went back, hands went in the air, and eyes closed. It was like an r&b prayer.
“A toast to the queen, you’re back in my life
But this time I’m a do it right
Trust me from the bottom of my heart
Nothin’s gonna tear us apart, promise…”
That’s when I thought about the power of music and creativity. How can a song do that? How can music take you so far away? Words are so powerful. Everyone was in the same reflective space. LL was singing our ghetto pledge of allegiance.
With one Old School at Noon hit on your local radio station, we get time travel.
“Flashlight” by Parliament and I’m in the basement dancing with my eccentric father.
“The Power” by Snap and I’m back at St Benedict School of Dance onstage in Jamaica Queens. I’m back to dreaming of being a singer, then a lawyer, and then a physical therapist (I was an indecisive child.)
Back to the sole responsibility of keeping my room clean. Back to a place in my heart I faintly remember where all you are expected to do is dream. If I hear “Weak” by SWV, I’m in my bedroom rewinding the cassette tape over and over on my karaoke machine. Careful not to rewind too far back because then you would hear the commercials from me taping the single from the radio. I’m in size 6 old navy jeans and a Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt and baby blue and white Nike uptowns with the strap undone.
I encourage you to “dig in the crates” and listen to the music that used to make your parents want to hide your Sony Walkman (yeah no iPods back then.) I encourage you to take a journey away from bills, car repairs, pressures, work, and the credit card debt you just accumulated from Christmas shopping. Go to that place…tilt your head back…raise your right hand…close your eyes or ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.