April 2012

Doing It Wrong: Joel Ward’s Goal Nets Hate

by dre of onustees.com on 26 April 2012

*enter Classic Cash Money rap line about Ice*

Initially, I was going to use “tell me what kinda, nigga got ice that’ll BLING!, blind ya…” and then “got so much ice you can skate on a nigga…” popped in my head… both lines from B.G.’s classic “Bling Bling” coined by one, Mr. Lil Wayne…

However, I realized that it would cloud the following text with the use of the word “nigga”… and almost thought of excluding it from the post…

Yet, it wouldn’t be true… solely to harp on the racist rants of bitter Boston fans… who have chosen to take to Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums to express discontent of a Black hockey player winning Game 7 of a 1st round match in the NHL playoffs…

Tale of Two Cities…

On the eve of the return of Redskin’s Glory (we hope with the drafting of Robert Griffin, III…) I was out celebrating a close friend’s birthday… the chosen place for the party is much like the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston, commonly known as Cheers… Everyone there pretty much knows each other… and it’s expected that everyone will return each Wednesday from 6pm until… to throw back libations, catch up, plan for the weekend, shit talk, laugh, etc…

I wouldn’t be considered a regular on Wednesdays… but what makes this place great is that once you step in… after the initial… “Hey! it’s YOU!!!” “Wow, you’re out with us tonight?” “Glad to see you here, been awhile…” is done… you pretty much feel like a regular… to use a colloquialism… One feels like they’re with “ya niggas…” Keyword: in that phrase isn’t “niggas”… it’s “ya” or “your”… Those folks who smiled when you stepped in the bar… are YOUR people… your kinship… you have history, culture and just as important a common vernacular…

Which is one reason why… I love my niggas.

Like most bars, this one has HDTVs plastered along the walls… on every other TV was Game 7 of the Bruins/Caps series… normally, hockey doesn’t get much play in this bar… but it’s DC… it’s the Caps… it’s the playoffs… it gets play that night… So, imagine the surprise of the predominantly Black attendees when Joel Ward scored the winning goal! His 1st goal… defeating the defending champions in THEIR home… for those who were clued in… excitement was all about… not Barack Obama wins the presidency excitement… but a sense of pride nonetheless… It was our brother… our reflection… our culture… our nigga… getting mobbed by teammates on the ice…

It’s not too often a group of Whites jumping on a Black man is a good thing…

Sadly, whenever something grand & Black happens in a mainstream (majority) genre the original strain of the term “nigga” is spewed… Primarily, from ignorant individuals too cowardly to profess their true feelings consistently… Only revealing when something near and dear to them is “threatened”… Baseball, Voting, Education, White Women, Stand Your Ground, etc…

This time it was hockey… the last frontier for Black exploration in America’s Top Four sports… Basketball has long been conquered… Football, is all but complete… once the new QB Type takes over… (see: Vick, Newton, Griffin III) that sport will be Black… Baseball, once on our trajectory… has been gifted to the good brothers of Cuba, Dominican Republic and other Latin American nations…

Hockey… has yet to be infiltrated… but once that puck went into the back of the net during OT of the Caps/ Bruins game… those watching the gate (yes, gate… not game…) knew what was coming… “them”… and whenever “them” gets too close to what they hold dear… “them” goes from “Black” to their red alert term “Nigger”…

“Nigger” the Paul Revere of the Standard American English… It’s the bullhorn that rounds the troops… It alerts them of pending “danger”… Encroachment of territory… The audacity of being equal and threat of being greater… It’s their Nuke… The end-all, be-all… The word that strikes fear in the souls of the Negro… the word that leads us to march for it’s abolishment… and have debates with media frontman and dance around with the term “N-Word”… as if magically, “N-word” doesn’t automatically render NIGGER in your mind…

I, however, love the term… it’s a beacon of ignorance… the smoke from fires within enemy camps… readily identifying themselves and location… and most importantly, let’s me know…

They’re not my niggas.


Scream if you love Hip Hop…

These days there are very few times I check for music videos… very… few… like… damn near never…

Fortunately, there are cats out there fighting the good fight and producing what my musically elitist ass considers “good hip hop”… Phonte’s “The Life of Kings” video embodies all that is good with the music form… also, it includes some of my favorite things…

  • Top 10 Producer – 9th Wondercheck!
  • Reunion of a pair of my hip hop faves… – 9th & Te’ (which could go in the boutdamntime category… but that’s another discussion…) – check!
  • Fave New Artist – Big K.R.I.T.check!
  • Use of a DOPE ass song by J.R. Bailey (Heaven On Earth, from his Just Me N’ You album…) – check!
  • Nice twist to keep the video appealing… – is that Te’s momma spitting!?! – check!

…but enough about why I dig the video… check it out…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_wlSODOQh8]

“dope beats… dope rhymes… what more do y’all want?”


The Wonderful Works of Andre Woolery

by dre of onustees.com on 24 April 2012

Woolery & His Artwork

A couple of months ago, a close friend referred me to a website featuring artwork of her former high school classmate… That classmate is Andre Woolery and this is his website, www.andrewooleryart.com.

Instantly, I was drawn into both the art and message in his works. The latest of his works features use of both paint and assortment of colorful tacks. The execution of merging the two is done really well… especially in the “Jay-Z: The Tackover” and “President Obama: Wet Paint” projects.

“Jay-Z: The Tackover”

President Obama “Wet Paint”

However, there was one piece that immediately rang out… By rang out… I mean as soon as I saw the work, I thought to myself… “Tax Refund!” As in, once I get around to doing my taxes and that good government check hits my bank account… I was placing my order. Like many Americans across the nation I waited until about the last moment to file… Thankfully, TurboTax doesn’t slack on the return… Once it hit, a couple of weeks ago, the order was submitted. To my surprise, Woolery’s art was at my doorstep in quick turnaround as well… and last week, this beautiful piece was delivered…

Erykah the Beautiful…

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah buddy! The final piece to my humble abode… Woolery’s “Erykah Badu” has rounded out my collection… (at least until I move into a larger place…) The 1st couple of days it was a gorgeous  surprise as I went about the pad… This past weekend, I had a gathering of sorts… and many of my friends raved about the work as much as I love it… A couple days after the arrival of Ms. Badu… a letter from Mr. Woolery was received… in which he details the awakening and revitalization if his work… along with a cool note about Andre(s) being awesome… (which is true… being one myself…) included were a number of business cards featuring some of his works… I am glad to say… I gave all of them out to those in attendance of the gathering… Well, all except the one with Badu on it… I may have the larger piece on the wall… but I’m keeping that card too! Badu… Badu… 😀

Now, I just got to see if he’s willing to do a collaboration with on.us.tees

Support great art!

Andre Woolery: www.andrewooleryart.comfacebook.com/AndreWooleryArttwitter.com/undre2g

Here are some pictures of the arrival…


Knowlin’s Moment: Inferior Design

by dre of onustees.com on 11 April 2012

My great-grand mother, Martha, celebrated her 95th birthday. Unfortunately, we don’t know her exact age due to where and when she was born. We think she was born in North Carolina, 52 years after the abolishment of slavery.

She has lived to witness a number atrocities committed against people due to their differences from the majority. She has also lived to see the will of the minority push for change. At some point she, like many others accepted what the majority was telling them about themselves. She accepted that she was inferior.

She accepted that she was inferior even though she and her husband worked hard to be able to move into a house in Southeast Washington DC when it was a predominantly white neighborhood.  She accepted she was inferior even though she raised 3 sons and helped raise grand children, and great-grand children. Martha’s acceptance of her inferiority was poured into how she raised and taught her children, grand children, and great-grand children about the world she knew.

She taught me I failed the “Brown Paper Bag” test. She was the one who taught me that being right didn’t matter cause I was dark skin. Every day she tried to instill in me that I was inferior, in order to protect me from the majority.

She feared losing her family to the majority, because she saw the lack of justice for people like herself that were apart of the minority. She would hear about individuals being lynched, raped, beat, and killed, with the party responsible going unpunished. She saw the news when Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Emmett Louis Till, Willie Edward Jr., Herbert Lee, and many more individuals who died for not accepting the notion of being inferior.

She believed that if you kept your eyes down, did as told, and didn’t make a fuss when you were wronged by the majority, that you had a chance at what she considered “Happiness”. It took me a number of years to understand, accept, and forgive my great-grand mother for trying to teach me that I was inferior but I’m also thankful to her for trying to do so. Due to her lesson, I became fully aware that people would fear, hate, and think less of me. Those same people would treat me a certain way based on their perception of me because I was born with a larger concentration of melanin in my skin.

Her teachings prepared me for the days when I had to interact with individuals who were “White”, especially law enforcement officers. I knew to say, “Yes sir” when responding, to not argue, to do as told, and to make no sudden movements when interacting with them. It didn’t matter to her if your rights were being violated; all that mattered was that you didn’t become a victim of the majority like “Trayvon Martin” and many others.

Since I was born in 1982, well after the Civil Rights Movement, my mother taught me that I wasn’t inferior. I was taught to protect, to provide, and to stand up for what I believe. She taught me I was the master of my fate. She pushed me to find my own path and to walk that path to the best of my abilities.

Many years after standing up to my great-grand mother, and crying to my mother about how she treated me, I would be seen by many as the exception to the rule. I beat the odds and made it pass my 25th birthday, I beat the odds and graduated from college, and I beat the odds and found a job in a profession where individuals like me are rare.

Unfortunately, me beating the odds doesn’t matter because like Martha always pointed out I have dark skin and people will treat me differently for that reason alone. So how do I tell my two children that the world many people have died fighting for doesn’t truly exist? Yes things have progressed from 1865, but one FACT remains the lives of those with dark skin are not valued the same as those who are not.

It’s been 45 days since a child was gunned down for walking down the street in clothing that many people wear on a cool weather day. His murderer has yet to be charged for the crime, simply because of the victims skin color. And yet very few members of the majority are outraged or even care. The majority seems to be annoyed by the fact that the minority is outraged by the incident. Today I read, “Other black folks have died recently that contributed a lot more to society than he did” in response to “Gone but not forgotten RIP Trayvon Martin”, and was yet again shocked by how little value is put on the life of a black child.

Yes, a number of black individuals have died, that have contributed far more than Trayvon Martin, but the fact remains that they got to live their lives in order to contribute. Trayvon Martin had the potential to contribute to society in so many ways. He could have become the first African American to receive a Fields Medal, but that was changed when he was suspected of being a threat by simply walking to and from the store in everyday clothing.

I wish @JohnBudge could explain to me why a black child’s life holds no value until they contribute to society. Explain to me why you are not outraged when an adult male kills a child that he decided to follow while caring a gun to stop them for walking home. Explain to me why you are comfortable with a justice system that would allow such an act to go unpunished. Explain to me how you would feel if it was your son.

I know how I feel and he wasn’t my son. But if he were, I would pray for the strength not to take the law into my own hands; strength the man who took my sons’ life did not have. I would pray for justice, and I would hope that people would acknowledge that my son was a child that never made it home because of a society built on prejudice. I would hope that my great-grand mother’s fears would be put to rest. I would pray it would be the last time the majority ever felt it was OK to not be outraged by a grown man shooting an innocent child and claiming self-defense.

– Michael Knowlin II


Caine’s Arcade – Short Film

10 April 2012

The story of passion meeting imagination… During one of my internet voyages… I came across the short film, “Caine’s Arcade”… about a 9 year-old kid who creates his own arcade out of leftover boxes from his father’s company… The highlight of the film is the surprise flashmob of support for Caine’s fledgling business… Enjoy! [vimeo […]

Google’s Project Glass

4 April 2012

Ok, I’m not sure why the brother is shirtless… but the glasses… yeah, let me get a pair… now. Google just released the 1st video of their Project Glass endeavor… from what I gather it’s an attempt to create interactive eyewear… and yes, the specs look hella lame but the potential is AWESOME… (if anything […]

Rest & Thanks: Happy Marvin Gaye Day!

2 April 2012

Celebrate the life of a soulful one… Earlier this year, a post celebrating the life and music of J Dilla revealed the Egg Album Artwork series by ŏn.us.tees artist, Gede… featuring a handful of my favorite artists interpreted as the ŏn.us.tees Egg mascots… The album artwork series continues with Marvin’s “Let’s Get It On”… The […]

ŏn.us.tees – 1 for Trayvon

2 April 2012

Late Friday night, the mood struck to send Gede, ŏn.us.tees artist, a weekend project request… Up until that moment, I hadn’t yet done my* tribute to Trayvon Martin’s memory and family… I have several hoodies but hadn’t taken a picture… Nor did I attend any rallies or protests… While working on revamping the ŏn.us.tees website… […]