There is nothing I like more than a conversation with someone I never met. The exchange of ideas and experiences is well worth the time spent. However, nothing could have prepared me for the person I was getting ready to meet. That person would be director of “Straight Outta Brooklyn” and the 1994 classic “The Inkwell” starring Larenz Tate and and Jada Pinkett. He was in town promoting his new book “Bev”. Given the current racial climate, his visit and book couldn’t have been more timely.
As we sat down, he couldn’t be happier about the new book. He was very pleased at the response his book has been receiving . Matty raved about his co-author Andrea Williams and how she helped bring “Bev” to life. I saw the serious return in his face as he began to go in depth about “Bev”. At that moment I was all ears as he explained the story.
” I read about Beverly Luther through a book by her sister Meridith Kopald. I found the story of a white social worker heading the call of Martin Luther King to help in the civil rights movement fascinating. I was drawn by her different perspective. I sought out Meridith and spoke at length about her sister. It was then, she gave me the go ahead to write the book.”. Matty noted that Beverly’s family has been very supportive and attended the first book signing in L.A.. Matty’s films “Straight Outta Brooklyn” and “The Inkwell are about family and “Bev” touches on that as well . During the Story, Bev challenges racism in her own family as well as lives with a Black family while in Mississippi. This he believes is the most important part!
As our conversation turned to the current racial climate, The significance of this book became clear. As Beverly spends time between the two families, she quickly learns the difference of two different Americas. Matty believes that our current racial problems in his own words “Cannot just be an African-American issue, it has to be an American issue. Only then, can we move forward.”. I believe he is right. Matty told me that even-though this book was originally pitched as a film, He is undecided on whether or not to go ahead and make the film. I hope he does. In the mean time, I will read this book.
Beverly Luther’s life experiences may shed light on how we can learn to have the conversations in our homes, challenge racism among those we love the most, and find that common bond that supersedes skin color and embraces our humanity. Matty said to me “America has still nor properly faced civil rights.That’s why racism is still hanging around” He is correct but with books like “Bev” and people like ourselves, maybe we can get on the right track. Thank you for stopping by Matty Rich! Holla if you hear me!
P.S. Coming Soon: “Bev” The Reveiw!
keep asking myself “How did we get here?”. The longer I thought about it, the answer became more and more clear. However, more troubling thoughts emerged. The crazy part is we act as if we haven’t see this before. The truth is…we have and we keep on ignoring it. This time, ignoring it has caused the deaths of many innocent people.
The current state of America is in racial discord. Not really surprising given our history but it is now inflamed by the shooting deaths of innocent black males in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of white police officers violently caught on video. The outrage of those shootings has sparked more deaths including 5 Dallas police officers. White police killing innocent blacks is nothing new. It has happened in every decade since law enforcement began in this country.
While some may argue that our justice system has come along way since the 1800’s, African-Americans will argue that it has remained the same. It just looks different. It has always had a racist tone to it. Whites have always gotten away with things in the south if they can pin it on a African-American. Killing that African-American was a plus and it happened often. As technology grew, the truth got harder to suppress. Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and countless other innocent African Americans have died at the hands of the police. The officers who killed them get paid time off until they are subsequently acquitted. Protect the honor of the police is a must and no Justice for the families, just business as usual. The deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana broadcast on social media gave America a real look at what business as usual is when it comes to how police handle African Americans.
We are lead to believe that this is how all police view African-Americans but in fact, it’s only the bad ones. They are bad employees. They don’t steal stationary, take long lunches, or come to work late everyday. They are prejudice and recklessly kill minorities. In fact, they feel justified. In their minds, they are the law and what they say goes. Chief among them, violating the rights of minorities in order to do their job. There is nothing in the law which supports their beliefs. In fact, they violate their own code of protect and serve and also violate the law regarding innocent till proven guilty, and policies regarding the rights of an individual.
Yet these bad employees of the Police department are rarely if ever punished and we see the results in the news way too much. That is why I applaud San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kapernick for sitting during the National Anthem before a pre-season game. If we are to be the country which stands for equality and freedom as we tell the world we are, we must take stands. Or in Colin Kapernick’s case, take a seat. We can absolutely mourn the police officers that have been killed in the line of duty during these restless days. We can also place blame and scrutiny where it belongs. On those bad employees of the Police force and the supervisors that fail to prosecute the law breakers in their own ranks. Our society cannot be at peace until that happens. Justice must be served! Holla if you hear me!
– K Greene
Since my journey back to the Literary Arts, I have been called many things. Among them all, Role Model is the only one I have shied away from. I understand the gravity of being a Role Model and never thought I qualified. Teachers, Parents, and Celebrities I always thought bared that burden but I had a new thought.
In 1993, Nike along with Charles Barkley launched an ad campaign entitled “I am Not A Role Model”. In the commercial, he outlines that he is paid to score points, get rebounds, and be intimidating. Not raise your kids. That campaign was met with some backlash considering the amount of young people that looked up to him. He was a Role Model whether he liked it or not. However, that didn’t stop him from making mistakes on and off the court which made him a less appealing Role Model. My mistakes in life are many more.
That’s why I often downplayed myself as a Role Model. At one time, I considered embracing myself as a Role Model. I thought my new purpose in life meant new responsibilities. That was short lived. A few years ago, my son’s oldest brother was shot and killed. He was not my biological son but we had a great relationship. We spoke often. It seemed that no matter how much knowledge I shared with him, it could not save him. I took it as failure and abandoned any thoughts of being a Role Model. However, I could not avoid all the young people in my life. It was them that helped me see the real problem.
Our young people live in an unforgiving social media society. Any mistake they make is quadrupled by public opinion once a friend puts it on social media. I have made tons of mistakes and being human, I am inclined to make a few more. Our youth need inspiration to move past mistakes. Whereas Role Models are assumed perfect representations, I tell the youth I am far from perfect. I am Real. Perfectly flawed like everyone else. My message to them is don’t strive to be like me but let me be a representation of part of the journey. I am a Real Model, not a Role Model. My success have come at the expense of my struggles. My legacy will be written over my struggles to come.
Holla if you hear me
Bishop Corletta Vaughn is no stranger to this blog. I have covered her extensively during the airing of “Preachers of Detroit” and also “Women Who Soar” her coaching and mentoring seminar for women. On April 9, 2016 she unveiled her latest game changer, Herself! In a brand new documentary “Born A Girl”, Bishop Vaughn reveals her struggle to become a world renown Preacher. Little did we know, her first struggle was being allowed to preach in the first place. Simply because she was a girl.
Being a preacher’s child often carries with it a natural knack for the word of God. So preaching her first sermon at the age of 4 in her mother’s salon should have been no surprise and was the first indicator that she will follow in her father’s footsteps. This would be no problem if she was born a boy. For in the Baptist church as well as other churches, women preachers were and still are strictly forbidden. “Born A Girl” Takes you on a journey with Bishop Vaughn as she recalls the trials and triumphs that built the woman of God that she is. Everything from that fateful night her father Henry Lewis stood up for his daughter’s call on her life to preach to the murder of her brother in Memphis,TN. Nothing was easy. In this documentary, she exemplifies hard work and not taking no for an answer.
This is why she wanted this opportunity to tell her story. Because women are often told “No”. Young girls with dreams of mighty things are told they can’t just because they are girls. Bishop Corletta Vaughn is seeking to destroy those barriers. You could tell by the faces of the guests in attendance, her message was getting across. So much so that once the credits rolled, a standing ovation was mandatory. Her mission, accomplished! Her documentary is arguably one of the most inspiring films any young girl can watch.
As a man watching this film, I felt even more compelled than ever to ensure that all women have equal opportunity succeed in this world. For man’s world would not exist without a woman’s contributions. In her documentary, Bishop Vaughn quoted an old African proverb “If you teach a man, you help a man. But if you teach a woman, you help a village”. This documentary will go a long way to doing just that. Because the first thing our young women need to learn is that being born a girl is the first step to becoming someone great! Holla if you hear me!
UPDATE: I was so moved by the movie and the efforts of the Corletta J Vaughn Foundation, that I have decided Hollaifyouhearme.com will partner up. The tab at the top of the screen that says ” Support The Corletta J Vaughn Foundation ” will be there for you and anyone else to donate to their efforts to help women and girls! I will be pitching in and I hope you will also!
There are things that plague our community and we thought injustice and police brutality was tops on the list. In fact, it sparked a new movement entitled “#BlackLivesMatter”. This past Holiday season has opened my eyes to an even bigger problem. We seldom value our own lives. In the fight for peace in our neighborhoods, we are losing daily.
The man pictured above is Anthony Tolson. Arguably Detroit’s best on bass guitar. The truth of that statement may never be known now. Last Christmas eve, Anthony was shot and killed by thieves who carjacked him for his truck. The truck was found. His children’s gifts and his bass still in the back. One of the young men arrested for his murder indicated that they only wanted the rims. A few months later, A young man was shot and killed at Eastland mall. It was over a minor dispute in the mall but I continue to read his mother’s major heartbreak on Facebook everyday. Every week since then, there has been a murder here in Detroit, 90% of those under the age of 30.
It’s not just here in Detroit. Chicago, Miami, and Memphis have seen some of the most bloodiest days in their history in the past month. Guns are easy to get and easily stolen. Now that Micheal Jordan has released his latest color of his old throwback gym shoe. To my knowledge, there have been 3 fatalities due to being robbed for those shoes at gunpoint. These factors have driven people to the gun stores at record numbers. It feels more like we have given up.
We have given up raising our kids, We have given up mentoring our teens. We have given up passing knowledge of self and community. We have abandoned the notion that we can control our own; raise our own; provide for our own. We want to fight mass incarceration yet give into mass neglect. We, yes WE! We are the key to everything. Not lawmakers or lawmen. We who are in the neighborhoods everyday. It is We who must teach what really matters. Not Jordan’s, expensive rims, not even foolish pride, but the lives of every one who looks like you, lives like you, and in the future…will learn to believe in you. Holla if you hear me!
I admit, this had been one of the hardest decisions in all my years voting. Bernie Sanders has some interesting ideas and viewpoints. His history fighting for civil rights also weighed heavy on me. If there was ever a time we needed a champion for civil rights in the White House, that time is now. Yet I feel there is something more to it. A bigger picture.
The one idea I really liked from Bernie Sanders was the idea of free college. These days it is impossible to get a decent paying job without a college education. As we all know, nothing is free and even by his own admission, taxes will have to go up to pay for it. Everything else can be gained at the Senate level. Bernie is better served staying in the Senate and offsetting the Republican surge there. If the Democrats win the senate, Bernie will have an easy time getting support for his initiatives.
Hilary is ready. She watched as her husband ran our country effectively. She was a Senator from New York from 2001-2009. Then she would later serve our country as United States Secretary of State from 2009-2013. She has the experience. She knows what our country is facing and what will help it. She knows the Republican plan for America and went to Flint,MI to see the affects of one Republican’s interpretation of that plan come to horrific fruition. There she promised Flint that she will fight for it and never forget it. Secretary Clinton also readdressed her commitment to ending Systematic Racism. Which is not just a minority issue, it’s an American issue. Racism has shattered America for centuries. Mrs. Clinton has vowed to “Make America Whole”.
The Republican party has come out with guns blazing and focused on Hilary Clinton. They know she is a direct threat to their plans. Her experience, insight, and dedication to America and not just the wealthy make her the top choice. I am endorsing Hilary Clinton for the next President of the United States. I believe that the best man for the job in this case is a woman. Holla if you hear me!
– K. Greene
In school, there was no other month I looked forward to more than February. Finally, I get a chance to learn about my history. The people that paved the way and the ones that gave with their lives. Each story seemed to give me life no matter how many times i heard them. Why, because each one brought me closer to myself. For what is a man without his history? African-Americans only have 28 days a year for it to be nationally recognized. However, it has occurred to me over the past 4 yrs that I may very well be cementing myself in Black History. More importantly, I wasn’t the only one. Also, I believe you can join us.
If you look at African-America’s most notable figures, nobody had anything more than anybody else. Nobody had special powers or supernatural gifts. They came from an assortment of everyday backgrounds much like you or I and if things were equal, we may never have known about them. Yet slavery was a precursor to the road our people had to travel in this new country. Bound together by shackles, worked and bred like beasts, the road to freedom and equality would have to first be paid for with blood and sacrifice. Those ancestors who rose to pay that toll endured the worst. In the years after, more and more of our ancestors sought our rise in every avenue possible. Education, Business, the Arts, and Civil Rights. Our ancestors in these areas saw a need and addressed it. There were needs in our government as well and those before us addressed those too. Even though the color of their skin minimized their voice at the time, their words proved prophetic as our country still struggles with racism to this very day.
It is this very day that concerns us. It’s this very day that I want to bring to your attention. Today, is our day. There is still a need for those of us to take a step up. We have come a long way but we are not there yet. We are still being beaten and murdered by police. There is still economic and systematic Racism plaguing our community. There is a call for change that has remained constant in all aspects of African-American life in America. All that is needed is for you to answer the call where you are, in your profession, or craft. Our history is riding on the number of African-American men and women who willing to be the very best at what our culture needs right now. I am committed to making sure that my body of work adds to our culture and brings our people together. It is my goal that my work inspires the next generation of writers. My place in Black history is now. Will you join me? Holla if you hear me.