Tag Archives: Social Justice

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.

Tonight America Chooses…

9 Nov

Tonight the United States of America chooses their leader- their president.

The world is watching. So many people are hoping for change.

I sincerely hope that the United States makes progress in their quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as stated in the declaration of independence).

Here I present a video of one of my most respected and favourite artists/musicians/poets…Dead PrezThis is their appearance on Def Poetry Jam called “4 The Hood.” It includes the beautiful and heartfelt “Window To My Soul.”  

Their spoken word pieces and music are filled with intelligence, social justice, critical thinking and soulful, revolutionary poetry. 4 the hood begs the question: is money the real president?

Is voting really choosing between the lesser of two evils or the evil of two lessers?

Lyrics

RBG…RBG…

Look look
Yo, you expect me to vote for the lesser of two evils?
NEVER!
It’s more like the evil of two lessers.
That’s like sayin’ – M! Choose your oppressor!
Pick one! Jeffery Dahmer or Hannibal Lecter
You want Crack, Coke, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper?
THEY ALL FU**ED UP and neither one of ‘em better
Cuz Crack is like a Democrat
Cocaine – Republican
Marijuana – Independent Party
SAME GOVERNMENT!
You really think your vote counts?
Ask my folk down in Florida didn’t they straight THROW they sh*t out!
And them crackas act innocent,
KNOWING they depend on this
Benefit from HUSH money from big businesses
MONEY is the president!

Dead Prez,
Dolla dolla bill, and I bet no convention ain’t spinnin’ this
Soon they gon’ need us
BELIEVE US
When these cats pick rappers to be POLITICAL LEADERS?
Don’t be pawns, be Lolita Lebrons
Run up on them all like ‘Muthafu**a it’s ON!’
If CONGRESS can’t make PROGRESS
Let’s change the PROCESS –
NO MORE TOMS RUNNIN’ FOR OFFICE!
Talkin’ like that these crackas’ll call you crazy
What’s crazy is, ain’t no difference in ME and JAY-Z –
The SAME BOAT brought us the SAME PLACE in slavery
So we rock the same chains anyway
BABY, BABY!

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For more information on…

Dead Prez, please visit: https://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/deadprezrbg

https://twitter.com/sticrbg 

Def Poetry Jam…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329823/ 

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Peace & Namaste….

-V.

Reflection for today…The Manifesto of Encouragement -Danielle LaPorte

20 Oct

The Manifesto of Encouragement

“Right now:

There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.

Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.

Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.

Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God’s children.

A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, “nourish them.”

Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you.

Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie.

Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free.

Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.

The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.

Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.

Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want — and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it’s reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche — this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.

Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don’t have to.

Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.

You. Me. Some. One. Now.”

Danielle LaPorte

Copied & Pasted from: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/inspiration-spirituality-articles/the-manifesto-of-encouragement/

“Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com, which has been called the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”

Please visit her website for some inspiration and wisdom…She is so brilliant. I just “discovered” her and will most likely be doing more blog posts about her and her writing.

If you want more inspiration and wisdom from Danielle, please go to her website: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/ to sign up for her newsletters.
You can choose to receive via email a “daily truthbomb”, a “somewhat weekly” newsletter and a “monthly digest” newsletter.
I am signed up for all of them and highly recommend them.

Her book The Fire Starter Sessions is at the top of my reading list.

Danielle has generously provided the first chapter of her book for free on her website. You can read it on Scribd or download it in pdf format. Please click on this link: The Fire Starter Sessions Chapter One.

Peace & Namaste Friends…

Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Photography
From their blog at: http://anastasiachomlack.typepad.com/laughter/2009/11/inspired.html

Reflection for today…The Master’s Tools -Audre Lorde

29 Jan

The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
-Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde Revolution

Soul On Ice…The Genesis

20 Jan

Soul on Ice was the beginning- the genesis.

I was in high school when I read

Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver.

I was so intrigued and impassioned by the civil rights movement after I read

Malcolm X’s autobiography.

I didn’t just see it as a civil rights movement but as a human rights movement.

Reading Soul On Ice left such an impression on me.

I had no idea the seeds that were planted in my mind as a result of reading this book.

Really, I can say that it is the book that has had the most impact on me as a creative person.

Intellectually and creatively, Soul On Ice gave me breath.

Eldridge Cleaver  received no formal training to be a writer.

He just had the gift- the gift to write truth beautifully even when the truth was so ugly.

The whole book is so REVOLUTIONARY and contentious.
It definitely challenges the status quo and subverts the dominant paradigm!

Aside from its political nucleus, it is full of intellectual orgasms and acidic social commentary.

Eldridge was a Black Panther

 and I believe this to be the real reason for locking him up.

Here is a clip of him speaking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnCaO2ErCFQ&list=PL628AADF36720D0D8&index=2&feature=plpp_video

He was just too “dangerous” according to “the powers that ruled.” 

The most inspiring thing about Eldridge is that he did not allow “the man” any access to his head.

His mind was all his own.

I shall be re-reading Soul On Ice for the undisclosed time and writing about it again.
There is so much to say!!!

I feel I need to revisit it every so often as each time it offers new insights and creative gems.

It is such a shame that in the university that I went to this book would never be studied- let alone read.

There is so much to learn from it…

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It is as the poet and writer Henry David Thoreau said,
“For a companion, I require one who will make an equal demand on me with my own genius.”
Soul On Ice is this companion for me.
It demands me to look inside and to awaken my potential just as Eldridge did in writing his Magnum Opus/ his great work.

To honour Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice & Revolution, I offer the song Revolution Solution by a favourite artist of mine named Thievery Corporation {featuring Perry Farrell}.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFn5E2PJPh4

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Ever since reading Soul On Ice, I have been using the nick name “MYSOULSONICE” as in “MY SOUL IS ON ICE.”

The Love Affair Continues…
and so does the Revolution…