Tag Archives: Enlightening

Reflection for today…Critical Reading -Henry David Thoreau & Tupac Shakur

13 Sep

* Editor’s Note: Today {September 13th, 1996} marks the 23rd anniversary of Tupac’s tragic death at the age of 25.

Rest in Peace Tupac.

We will continue to celebrate your life and your legacy.

{Things are not the same without you…}

https://2paclegacy.net/today-marks-23-years-since-tupac-was-killed/ 

In this reflection, I wanted to explore the intellectual and poetic side of Tupac that is rarely discussed {the same happens with Jim Morrison the lead singer of The Doors}.

I hope to explore other artist’s reading lists in future reflections.

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“Readers are plentiful;  

thinkers are rare.”  
Henry David Thoreau

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Tupac Shakur was always hungry for knowledge.  

He was a voracious reader and student of life. His passion for learning and social justice advocacy was a part of his essence. 

Tupac’s intellectual power came from a vast knowledge of eclectic topics. He loved to explore esoteric, the metaphysical and philosophical topics. This study became the foundation for his song lyrics and life philosophy.

His mother, Afeni Shakur, had already instilled in him a revolutionary education as she was a member of The Black Panthers. She passed on her wisdom and Tupac continued to polish the jewels.

Tupac was truly an autodidact {a self-taught person}. He would educate others through his song lyrics.

Tupac Shakur Smiling

“Before his tragic death at age of 25, Tupac rapped about poverty, violence in the black community, police brutality, black empowerment, political strategy and spirituality.” https://www.blackfaves.com/story/11-books-tupac-shakurs-bookshelf-still-relevant-today/

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In this short video, Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg discusses Tupac’s love of literature and critical thinking.

Tupac Shakur and Leila Steinberg

Leila Steinberg is an artist and community organizer who began working with youth twenty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area. As the daughter of a criminal defence attorney, she grew up surrounded by the workings of the justice system and took a front row seat at the personal tragedies and socio-economic pressures that turn so many at-risk youths into hardened felons. Steinberg helps them connect with their hearts and turn anger and pain into creativity.
AIM promotes artistic expression as a way to handle problems as opposed to choosing violence, drugs or other forms of escape. As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is a key to making better choices.

Steinberg is committed to helping people who fall through the cracks of society. In 1995 she began a series of specialized programs for youth within the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities. As hip-hop music became the expression of today’s youth, Steinberg began training artists to develop voices powerful enough to reach a generation. While conducting poetry workshops in Northern California, she met Tupac Shakur and he became a regular participant in her class. They shared a vision of developing a space where each artist in attendance is encouraged, inspired and motivated to address social change in their work. Tupac referred to Leila as the “bow” and himself as the “arrow.” –http://www.pinlight.com/leila.htm

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This clip is from the movie Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel.

It is said to be a “documentary examining the politics, music and life of Tupac Shakur.”

This is the description from the Youtube video…

This is a list of books read by Tupac during his lifetime including while he was at the Baltimore School of Arts and in prison. They are presented in no particular order. The topics include Black history, the afterlife, religion including Zen, war, women’s liberation, music, and poetry. Reading these books, it is clear how they moulded Tupac’s thinking and language. This is a handy list of good reading material if you ever find yourself locked up.”

 One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1984
Written by: George Orwell

Ah, This!
Written by: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

All God’s Children:
The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence
Written by: Fox Butterfield

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Written by: Donald Passman

And Still I Rise
Written by: Maya Angelou

Art of War
Written by: Sun Tzu

Assata: An Autobiography
Written by: Assata Shakur

At the Bottom of the River
Written by: Jamaica Kincaid

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As told to: Alex Haley

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Written by: A.C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada

Black Like Me
Written by: John Howard Griffin

Black Sister:
Poetry by Black American Women, 1746 to 1980
Edited by Earlene Stetson

Blues People
Written by: Amiri Baraka

Catcher in the Rye
Written by: J.D. Salinger

The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences
Written by: Walter B. Gibson and Litzka R. Gibson

The Confessions of Nat Turner
Written by: William Styron

The Destiny of the Nations
Written by: Alice A. Bailey

The Diary of Anais Nin
Edited and with a Preface by: Gunther Stuhlmann

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Written by: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil

The Grapes of Wrath
Written by: John Steinbeck

Great White Lie:
Slavery, Emancipation and Changing Racial Attitudes
Written by: Jack Gratus

The Harder We Run:
Black Workers Since the Civil War

Written by: William H. Harris

Here and Hereafter
Written by: Ruth Montgomery

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou

I Shall Not Be Moved
Written by: Maya Angelou

Imitation of Christ
Written by: Thomas a Kempis

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
Written by: Alice Walker

Initiation
Written by: Elisabeth Haich

Interesting People:
Black American History Makers

Written by: George L. Lee

James Baldwin: The Legacy
Edited by: Quincy Troupe

Kabbalah
Written by: Gersham Scholem

Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by: Ira Peck

Life as Carola
Written by: Joan Grant

Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
Written by: Linda Goodman

Makes Me Wanna Holler
Written by: Nathan McCall

The Meaning of Masonry
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst

Moby Dick
Written by: Herman Melville

Monster:
The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Written by: Sanyika Shakur

Music of Black Americans: A History
Written by: Eileen Southern

Mysticism
Written by: Evelyn Underhill

Native Son
Written by: Richard Wright

Nature, Man and Woman
Written by: Alan W. Watts

No Man Is an Island
Written by: Thomas Merton

Nostradamus: The Millennium & Beyond
Written by: Peter Lorie

The Phenomenon of Man
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin

Ponder on This: A Compilation
From the Writings of: Alice A Bailey & the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul

The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
Written by: Mark Bricklin

The Prince
Written by: Niccolo Machiavelli

The Psychedelic Experience:
A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Richard Alpert, Ph.D.

The Psychic Realm
Written by: Naomi A. Hintze and J. Gaither Pratt, Ph.D.

A Raisin in the Sun
Written by: Lorraine Hansberry

Roots
Written by: Alex Haley

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Written by: Jonathan Kozol

Secret Splendor
Written by: Charles Essert

Serving Humanity
From the writings of: Alice A. Bailey

Sisterhood is Powerful:
Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Written by: Robin Morgan

The State of the World Atlas
Written by: Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal

Social Essays
Written by: LeRoi Jones

The Souls of Black Folk
Written by: W.E. Burghardt DuBois

Teachings of the Buddha
Written by: Jack Kornfield

Telepathy
Written by: Alice A Bailey

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: W.Y. Evans-Wentz

Thoughts and Meditations
Written by: Kahlil Gibran

Tropic of Cancer
Written by: Henry Miller

The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg
Written by: Paul Portuges

Wisdom of Insecurity
Written by: A.N. Watts

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Written by: Robert M. Pirsig

Copied from: https://www.thuglifearmy.com/index.php/tupac-reading-library.html

{Goodreads also has an alternate list of books that Tupac read}.

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For more information…

Henry David Thoreau…http://thoreau.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau_life.html

Tupac Shakur…http://2pac.com/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000637/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23942.Books_Read_by_Tupac_Shakur_

Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel Movie…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314806/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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Peace & Poetic Love

-V.

Reflection for today…Reverence For Music As Art -Jack White

2 Jan

Jack White has a deep reverence for music as an art form.

Jack White Photo Courtesy of: http://cdn.soundpublishing.com/reverb/7Jack-Whitesas1.jpg

Jack White Has Got So Much Soul…

In this short video clip, he elaborates on his creative fuel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=289ZMP76RHU

Jack White on why he makes music

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Jack’s desire to create something new is the nucleus of his creative process.

He vehemently rejects the usual paradigm of the rock musician lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll {although he says it is a heavy metal way of thinking}.

Jack says, “That’s not creating. That’s not art. That’s not trying to exist in a place where you are sort of mimicking God in a way, in a small tribute to try to create something brand new that didn’t exist before and to see if it can change people’s emotions…”

I love everything Jack said but particularly the notion of musicians mimicking God with their creative tribute. We have all heard the phrase “rock god” in reference to certain rock n’ roll musicians. Jack’s version is a lot more humble and realistic. He only claims to mimic God and not actually be a god. His reasons are very pure because he only wants to create art and provide a conduit for people’s emotions. Music has the transformative and cathartic power to alter people’s emotions. Music therapy exists to help people heal. 

Jack’s impetus for being a musician is derived from his creativity. He wants to share emotions and create an experience for his listeners- an emotional connection born from an artistic experience.

Jack ends the video clip with this observation,

“Partying and all those things and meeting people is kind of boring. It’s easy to do that in a bar. That’s for people who really have no idea what to do with themselves, I think. That shouldn’t be associated with art.”

It seems as though his artistic vision is quite clear and that he is a serious artist. Jack deeply loves and respects music. He has a higher vision for art; perhaps one of elevated consciousness and transcendence. Art can be so many things to different people. It can cathartic or destructive. It can be haunting or enlightening.

Whatever art is, it should not be dismissed.

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Please enjoy I’m Shakin’ by Jack White…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkcGuZHPbKk

Jack White – I’m Shakin’

*I am a fan of Jack White but especially The White Stripes. When I first heard The White Stripes all those years ago, I simply fell in love with their music.

I have yet to hear his other bands The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.

 What about you?

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I really enjoy watching this video…

I am quite enamored with his dancing.

It brings a smile to my face.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQls2xs9-zY

Jack White – I’m Shakin’ (TSC – Ogg)

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What do you think about Jack White’s reflections on music as art?

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For more information…

Jack White…http://jackwhiteiii.com/news/

The White Stripes…http://whitestripes.com/lo-fi/news.html

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Peace & Creative Love…

Reflection for today…Questioning Identity -Tilda Swinton

21 Apr

“I’m basically interested in identity, and I still find fascinating the question,

how do we identify ourselves, and how do we settle into other people’s expectations for our identity?”

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton as David Bowie.
Photographed by Craig Mcdean for AnOther Magazine.

Tilda channels David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego…

Tilda is a Rebel Rebel…

Tilda is a huge David Bowie Fan…

“The other day, I was going through the airport security and I was searched by a male security guard. I’m very often referred to as “Sir” in elevators and such. I think it has to do with being this tall and not wearing much lipstick. I think people just can’t imagine I’d be a woman if I look like this.”

“You’re always playing yourself.
It’s all autobiography, whatever you’re doing.
It’s using them as a kind of prism through which to throw something real about yourself, or something relaxed at least.
Because the last thing you want is to look like you’re acting.”

Tilda Swinton in Candy Magazine

Tilda is a Futuristic Cosmic Mermaid…

Tilda as a Cosmic Space Goddess…

Tilda Laughs At The Status Quo…

Tilda Transforms Through Make-up Artistry…

“These photographic performances and the opportunity they afford me to play with the shapes and attitudes of this lexicon are thrilling to me.”

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Tilda Swinton is a brilliant actress and performer {one of my favourites}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2Zajvjm4LI

She has performed “the maybe” where she sleeps in a glass cage for performance art.

Tilda’s recent performance at MOMA {Museum of Modern Art}…

Tilda is a fascinating artist and human being.

“It’s a real comfort zone for me to feel alien.”

It should come to no surprise that she is a writer.

If you have ever hear her speak, you will be struck with her grace, intelligence and eloquence.

Her natural beauty radiates outwards.

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Tilda tends to favor a more natural and androgynous look.

The pictures from Candy magazine depict her in drag make-up.

These pictures are in juxtaposition with her usual natural aesthetic.

Scottish actress Tilda Swinton relishes in androgyny, artistry and creativity…

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Tilda is so intriguing to me not only as an actress/artist but as a thinker and human being.

She says that a recurring theme in her work is the question of identity and the question of transformation.

Tilda Swinton in W Magazine {August 2011}

In this clip, she discusses identity and transformation….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEIFzoBgNe8

“Society circumscribes us and we play into this feeling that we have to pick one identity and stick with it and any natural transformation within our spirit is to be resisted at all costs.

If there is some great shift in someone’s life one is to feel nothing, but shame and failure, that’s the thing I am constantly drawn back to.”

“There is something insane about a lack of doubt. Doubt, to me anyway, is what makes you human, and without doubt even the righteous lose their grip not only on reality but also on their humanity.”

What keeps her engaged in performing and acting is the moment of shift and doubt in one’s identity.

“There’s such an effort to try and explain people.”

Tilda Removes The Wig/Veil/Metaphorical Mask…

Tilda The Transformer…

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Gender, identity and beauty are such an intriguing topics which I hope to explore in future posts.

“Tilda does not always play women; she has played Mozart on stage, an Elizabethan nobleman in Orlando (1992) and an androgynous angel, Gabriel, in Constantine (2005).”
-Internet Movie Database

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Please enjoy the fascinating video of master make-up artist Joseph Harwood as he transforms himself from a male/androgynous appearance into a female appearance.

{Joseph really shows us how make-up is art and how you can express yourself and construct our own identity}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBxGwTEc0AQ

Joseph answers questions about androgyny and gender…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cAYU7D0wfY

To watch more of Joseph’s make-up artistry videos…

http://www.youtube.com/user/jhmemoires

For more information on Joseph Harwood…

http://www.josephharwood.com/

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Please enjoy David Bowie’s new song “The Stars Are Out Tonight”…

Tilda Swinton & David Bowie…An Artistic Dream…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH7dMBcg-gE

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I am most grateful for a class I took called “sociology of gender relations” because it enlightened me about gender.

This class also brought to my awareness the struggles of women, gay people, transgendered people and other types of minorities.

More than anything this class convinced me that everyone deserves equality, there needs to be more love, compassion and acceptance in the world and that we should collectively fight discrimination of all kinds.

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For more information on…

Tilda Swinton…

Tilda and Bjork…

please visit her internet movie database page…

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0842770/

Twitter…https://twitter.com/NotTildaSwinton

David Bowie…http://www.davidbowie.com/

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I would love to read your thoughts on this post or about gender, identity, androgyny and/or beauty.

What are your favourite Tilda Swinton performances/films?

What are your favourite David Bowie songs/albums and alter egos?

What are your alter egos?

Tilda Swinton…a brilliant artist/actress/chameleon

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…The Seduction of Consumerism -Chuck Palahniuk

28 Aug

“Are these things really better than the things I already have?

Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?” 

― Chuck PalahniukLullaby

Art by Barbara Kruger

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This incisive quote reminds me of Chuck Palahniuk’s other novel Fight Club which was made into an enlightening film called Fight Club– one of my favourite films. 

{I highly recommend watching Fight Club because of the acidic social commentary, intriguing story and excellent acting}.

Here is the trailer in case you are interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUXWAEX2jlg

In essence, Chuck Palahniuk is alluding to commodity fetishism. The term that Karl Marx invented to describe how commodities are being fetishized and given an intrinsic value. It analyzes how the means of production and the relationships between consumers and workers are being obscured. {I apologize for the poor definition but I hope to elaborate on this in future posts}.

This quote asks us to re-consider our consumerist urges and desires.

Why do I really want a new thing?

Do I really need it?

Or do I simply just want it?

Why do I want it?

Do I just have a materialist itch to scratch?

Is there actually anything wrong with the one I have or am I just getting caught up in the consumerist zeitgeist?

These are questions we can ask ourselves…

Peace & Namaste…

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For more information on…

The author Chuck Palahniuk…http://chuckpalahniuk.net/

Fight Club the bookhttp://chuckpalahniuk.net/books/fight-club

Fight Club the film on the Internet Movie Database

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/

Banksy, the mysterious and elusive graffiti artist

http://www.banksy.co.uk/