2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

 

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

by Amy Lignor

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.So, what are the hobbies that people are being ‘drawn’ to in 2017? Well, the first actually comes from the world of painting. Watercolors are a whole lot of fun. No, you do not have to be a “master” to have a good time. This is not a stressful art; in fact, there are a great number of people who are looking up various pics on Google and illustrations on Instagram and creating these in watercolors in their very own ‘studio’ at home. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish by simply looking at the numerous free tutorials available on YouTube. You may even get so into the hobby that you end up moving forward with art classes, and the supplies to begin will not take a bite out of your budget.

 

There is always a hobby/art located in the world of sewing that springs up from time to time to engage the mind. 2017 looks to be the year for bringing back embroidery. This is an art that allows people on a very limited budget to purchase the supplies and make pieces that are truly beautiful. If you have ever had the pleasure of watching “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, you can see how far back embroidery was established and utilized in this country to make true pieces of Americana that have lasted a good, long time. By taking up this hobby, there may just be a few out there who not only find they are excellent at the craft, but also produce works that become a part of history.

 

One very popular art form that has come back into the world is handwriting. In a time period where computers have taken over and schools are actually (if they haven’t all done so already) taking penmanship out of the curriculum, it is wonderful to see people taking up everything from hand-lettering to calligraphy. Now, computers do come in handy for this hobby because thousands of tutorials can be found all over the Internet that allow people to really learn and gain this amazing artistic talent. And when it comes to supplies, stationery stores, Hobby Lobby, even Walmart can supply the future calligraphy artist with everything they need. Handwriting is necessary, and the world needs those future scribes.

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.Some out there may want to delve into a more industrial/physical hobby. Not a problem, because there are many coming back that have been gone far too long. One is blacksmithing. Woodworking is a special talent and with blacksmithing all you have to add on is a fire/furnace, an anvil, and exchange the wood for some steel to make a piece that has the entire neighborhood talking.

 

Yet another hobby that has actually turned into a business for many and has allowed them to bring in the cash, comes in the form of brewing beer. Not only is the trial and error a whole lot of fun, but it’s also a real thrill when you can create a new beer and share it with your friends. For anyone who wishes to begin, the American Homebrewer’s Association at homebrewersassociation.org is a great place to start. Who knows? Maybe you will be the one to come up with the “perfect” brew that people really enjoy.

 

One hobby that comes and goes is photography. Now, with all the cool digital equipment on the market, this is a slightly more expensive hobby to take up, but also extremely relaxing. Snapping those spectacular photos calms the mind and sets people in various environments that offer up serenity – like heading out on a hike and ending up at the perfect waterfall to catch on film.

 

Speaking of waterfalls…one very big hobby that is appearing this year from coast to coast comes in the form of fly fishing.
Going up into those woods, or finding that perfect, calm lake or stream armed with just the rod, a line, a fly and a whole lot of patience – fly fishing is all about peace and harmony with nature. Landing the best trout that has ever been seen is also an added extra bonus if the day goes really well.

 

So if you’re wishing to graduate and move on from those adult coloring books, or looking for a hobby that appeals to your sense of fun and tranquility, start researching now. In 2017, there is a whole buffet of hobbies to choose from.

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.

Source:  Rocky Mountain Weekly

Badinage with Brother Hodge!

 

Aldis Hodge and Janelle Monae in a scene from Hidden FiguresAldis Hodge 

The “Underground / Hidden Figures” Interview

with Kam Williams

Badinage with Brother Hodge!

Aldis Hodge is perhaps best known for his role as Alec Hardison on the TNT series Leverage which nabbed a People’s Choice Award in 2013, in addition to his role as MC Ren in  Straight Outta Compton. Furthermore, he starred in the Amazon pilot The After and enjoyed a recurring role on the AMC Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington’s Spies.

Aldis appeared opposite Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page in the eco-terrorism thriller “The East.” And he appeared in A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment of the “Die Hard” franchise.

Aldis started his career at 3 as a model for print ads and commercials. He made the transition to the small screen when he and his brother Edwin were cast on Sesame Street. Later, they joined the Tony-winning revival of Showboat on Broadway.

During that period, he parlayed his success on stage into a movie career, debuting in Die Hard with a Vengeance, before making Bed of Roses, The Stone House, Edmond, The Ladykillers and Big Momma’s House. Aldis’ television roles include the critically-acclaimed series Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Girlfriends, American Dreams, City of Angels, Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ER, Cold Case, Charmed and Boston Public.

Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but raised in New York and New Jersey, Aldis is an avid scriptwriter, designer and painter in addition to acting. Here, he talks about playing Levi Jackson in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures and about reprising the role of Noah on the television series Underground about the Underground Railroad which just started its second season on the WGN America network. 

Kam Williams: Hi Aldis, I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Aldis Hodge: I appreciate your time as well, Kam.

KW: Congratulations on the second season of Underground. What first interested you in doing the series?

AH: I enjoyed the way the story was written. I was intrigued by the narrative showing people rising up and fighting for their freedom. 

KW: What can we expect to see new this season.

AH: I’ll put it like this, brother. Everybody thought it couldn’t get crazier or more dangerous, but it does. Last year, everyone was focused on this idea of freedom and just getting off the plantation without contemplating the harsh reality of what that really meant. At the end of the season, we were pretty much split up. Now, you get a pretty introspective view of each character. We’re all dealing with the consequences of what transpired last season in our own way. My character, Noah, was learning what it meant to try to be a leader. This season, he’s learning more about who he is as a man. Right now, the strength of his love for Rosalee [played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell] is more important to him than freedom, whereas last year was purely about survival.

KW: What’s it like acting opposite Jurnee?

AH: She’s awesome! That’s my road dog right there. Our characters go through so much together this season that we have to depend on each other emotionally as actors. We didn’t share a lot of scenes together because our story focuses on Noah and Rosalee’s trying to get back to each other. We see that their love transcends their situation. There’s still a very powerful connection between them, and we had to develop that. So, we had to take a different approach, and Jurnee was there 100% of the way. She is an absolute beast!

Aldis Hodge, The “Underground / Hidden Figures”, Interview with Kam Williams

Aldis Hodge and Janelle Monae in a scene from Hidden Figures

KW: What’s it been like working a real-life icon, Harriet Tubman, into the story?

AH: It’s great that we get to honor Tubman’s legacy through a real-life representation, although we’d already paid tribute to her last season. It’s not really a different approach. The only thing that’s changed is that we have a fantastic actress in Aisha Hinds materializing Tubman. Aisha does a fantastic job of enabling us to explore who Harriet Tubman was.

KW: Congratulations on Hidden Figures’ win at the Screen Actors Guild awards. Were you surprised?

AH: It was a huge surprise. We were all blown away. The girls [Taraji P. Hensen, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer] were all crying, and I think I might have dropped a tear or two, too. The film has gotten so much love. It was awesome because this award was coming directly from a pool of several hundred thousand actors. Our peers! So, we were very grateful. 

KW: Why do you think Hidden Figures has made the most money of all the movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar?

AH: It’s absolutely because of the message. Granted, a big part is that people will go to the theater and enjoy it. But I think the primary reason it’s been so effective is that it represents the antidote to some of the cultural issues we’re still dealing with as a nation. It illustrates what can be accomplished when you look beyond the prejudices and stereotypes and allow equality to win out overall. These women accomplished what they did in spite of segregated bathrooms, and not having equal pay or the right to vote. That made it an inspiring film for both little girls and boys. It’s exactly what America needs right now.    

KW: Your mom is from the South and your father is from Dominica. Did they ever talk to you when you were growing up about any racial discrimination they experienced?   

AH: Yes,my mom experienced racism. She was harassed by the KKK several times. And I experienced racism myself, growing up. In New Jersey, we had trash thrown on our lawn every day. And we had the lines to our Christmas lights cut three years in a row. We just stopped putting up Christmas lights after that. That’s probably why I still don’t put up any lights during the holidays. People talk about Jim Crow as if it’s dead. Jim Crow isn’t gone. It’s adjusted. Look at the disproportionate sentences meted out to blacks caught up in the criminal justice system. There’s a problem when people profit from putting and keeping African-Americans in prison. We need to do a better job as a nation understanding the real values the country’s built upon in terms of fairness, equality and equal opportunity. That’s why I like being a part of projects like Hidden Figures and Underground. They illustrate mistakes of the past we need not repeat, as well as the beauty of the progress achieved when everybody cares about the underprivileged.    

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia says: I recently saw Hidden Figures and I loooooved it! I even started to read the book before there was talk about releasing the film. Were you familiar with the role these women had played in the NASA space program before you got the script?

AH: Yes, but I didn’t know much beyond the fact that there were these black, female mathematicians who had accomplished this great feat.

KW: Patricia continues: You write scripts. Is there a story special to you that you would like to see turned into a film?

AH: Yes, I have a few projects that I’m already working on right now that I have to keep under wraps. I also think the Emmett Till story needs to be told, because his accuser just came out and admitted that her story wasn’t true, and because his murderers bragged about lynching him after they were acquitted, since they couldn’t be tried twice. Again, problems with the legal system.

KW: Lastly, Patricia says: Your parents served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Did you travel a lot with them growing up? If so, was it useful in your up bringing?

AH: Yeah, when I was younger, we moved from North Carolina to Hawaii, and then from Hawaii to New Jersey. Nowadays, my job keeps me traveling on a regular basis, and I think my childhood did prepare me for it.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

AH: [LOL]  What’s in my wallet? Just my business card.

KW: Keep up the good work, Aldis, and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

AH: Likewise, Kam. Thank you.


Source:  GIG News

Re-Thinking Those Home Décor Ideas

 

Re-Thinking Those Home Décor Ideas

by Amy Lignor

 

For those of us who have seen the “regrets” of home decoration choices up close and personal, it seems fitting that all homeowners get a feel as to the ideas that should be absolutely avoided when re-decorating those spacious areas. Most home decoration choices, bad décor, do-it-yourself, regrettable, impressions, fads, decor & childrenespecially, if you are actually re-decorating your home in order to put the listing on the market; if this is the fact, the choices you make need to be the right ones.

There are homes where you bring the children with you (because they’re invited, of course) and end up staring into a room filled with alabaster white seats. For the mother of those particular children, the fear runs through you. Especially if you’ve stopped at a fast food chain on the way to “the party” and the kids delved into some melting chocolate concoctions. Just think how the homeowner feels? Yes…let us think about that. White upholstery is something people think is a crisp, fresh look; a look that allows you to decorate the surroundings and paint the walls, etc., with any color you choose because the furniture doesn’t get in the way. Trouble is, if choosing this look make sure that slipcovers are also part of the décor, because you will be dealing with chocolate stains sooner than you know it.

 

Staying with the children angle, walking into those homes with strange tables and chairs – perhaps those modern-art designs with edges as sharp as scissors – is a bad décor idea. Not only are you talking a safety issue but, as a homeowner, you are also talking about investing in a massive amount of insurance and a whole lot of prayer.

 

It is a big thing to ‘do-it-yourself’ when it comes to fixing up around the homestead. But more than one family member (usually the wife looking at the husband) will complain when that proverbial “project” goes halfway and no further. If you don’t have a real professional who knows what they’re doing running around the house, then getting someone who is becomes a must – especially if you want to sell.

 

Sitting down in a dining room once can become a major, unforgettable experience in your life…all because of the wallpaper. The term “busy” is one thing, but the term “what were they thinking?” is another. What happens when you are led into a dining room where the wallpaper boasts a fox and hound scene with more than one furry corpse hanging from the saddle of the horse that the well-dressed hunting equestrian is riding? Trust the fact that this is not something someone can see out of the corner of their eye while trying to digest food. Yes, it is a fact that some have bad taste and that a buyer of a home can certainly tear wallpaper down if they do not want it there. But taking the time to rethink the possibilities of your bare walls would be far easier. Also try to remember that a coat of paint may always be the right thing, seeing as that you can simply paint over it when the next re-decoration project comes around.

 

Now are those little extras that are thought about constantly when it comes to “finishing” a room. It is necessary to understand that a shag carpet went out in the 1970’s. Not only is it an eyesore, but it’s also extremely hard to clean and everything your favorite family pet loses on a daily basis from their own coats gets trapped in it. When it comes to colors, again, the pure white choice is not the right one – unless, of course, the room will be decorated and sealed from all visitors at all times, even your own pet.

 

When it comes to your windows and doors, the idea of having an “open” scheme to give the impression of a larger area is just fine, but not having even the faintest hint of some sort of curtains makes it feel not only open but still being worked on. Heavy curtains are not necessary; neither are screens or shades. But if you want to give that added color, there are swaths of ideas that can be chosen from the curtain arena.

 

In the end, make sure to really think about those home décor decisions before sinking time and money into the project. That way – whether wanting to update or wanting to sell at some point – the choices you make can never be regretted.

 

Source:  GIG News

Vibrant Art is Alive in Paducah, Kentucky

 

 

Vibrant Art is Alive in Paducah, Kentucky

by Amy Lignor

 

Everyone has seen a quilt, but many do not understand that these are literal works of art. Some are handed down from generation to generation; some provide a patchwork of pictures that cover all aspects of one’s life. There are quilts in the world that represent entire families and date back to their own “crossing” to the United States; quilts that represent a time when they came to this country in order to be a part of the “patchwork quilt” of diverse people who made America great. There are even those who have taken the time to learn this art form, and are now able to create absolute masterpieces that all have the opportunity to view. That is where the lovely state of Kentucky comes into play.

National Quilting Museum, Kentucky, highest rated tourism destinations, travelling exhibits, Ohio River, workshops, educational opportunitiesArt is protected. Works are housed in many locations across the globe where people can walk through enormous, exquisite buildings and simply stare up at masterpieces decorating the gilded walls. But there are other art forms not given the “glory” they rightfully deserve. When speaking about quilts, however, we can all be thankful that in Paducah, Kentucky there’s a museum that has not only kept the craft of quilting alive to support quilters, but also advances the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits.

It is the 25th year that the National Quilting Museum has been a part of this nation, and all should note the vast number of resources it provides. From workshops to educational opportunities, the National Quilting Museum plays a hugely significant role in the art community as a whole. Every year visitors from all fifty states, as well as over 40 countries thus far, come to Paducah, Kentucky to enjoy the National Quilting Museum. Both onsite and travelling exhibits are actually viewed by over 110,000 people per year, with over 6,000 youth and adults participating in the programs NQM offers.

 

It was Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah that began this extraordinary museum. Being quilting enthusiasts, their goal was to build a place where people could both admire and celebrate the art of quilting, especially those who had not been able to experience this particular art form in the past. This couple chose to build their dream in Paducah in order to give back to their own community. In the end, their hard work and love of quilting turned into a $2.2 million facility (the largest facility in the world dedicated to quilting) built just two blocks from the Ohio River in historic downtown Paducah.

 

The collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. The day the facility opened just 85 quilts were able to be seen. Now that collection has grown exponentially – over 500 works of art can be viewed. With exhibits changing many times over the year, visitors are always able to enjoy a unique experience every time they visit. The Museum’s popularity continues to expand, which has allowed the educational programs it provides to expand just as fast.

 

Participants of all ages come from all over the world, with some of the most recognized quilters holding workshops in Paducah. As part of the youth educational programs, the Museum offers all kids the chance to use their creativity and learn basic skills about this art form and the community of quilters that continues to balloon in size.

 

Three galleries of extraordinary quilt and fiber art can be seen in this museum that is among the highest rated tourism destinations (TripAdvisor), and has even won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence four consecutive years. Not to mention, with the never-ending menu of programs for kids (Quilt Camp, Kidz Day in the Arts, Junior Quilters, and Textile Artists Club) the Museum has been able to add to the art programs of many schools during a time where budget reductions have caused cuts to the most creative course children truly want.

 

The National Quilting Museum is most definitely on a mission to introduce the work of today’s quilters to new audiences worldwide, while shining its brilliant light on the vibrant beauty that’s born from the art of quilting.

 

For more information about this amazing organization, head to www.quiltmuseum.org

 

Source:  GIG News

Updating the House for Spring

 

Updating the House for Spring

by Amy Lignor

 

As with all areas of business and industry, the interior decorating realm has also focused on the 2017 “trends” that will allow you to create the perfect renovation and/or update for your home. After all, winter will be over (even though there are days when that feels like an impossibility) and spring will be here. So as you sit and look at those drab, dull areas of the home, understand that it’s time to plan for that perfect “facelift” that will usher in the warmer season with flair and a whole lot of fun.

First of all, let’s start with those silver, gold-plated and horrific brass fixtures, vases and even flatware that are just hanging around the house. It is time to usher in a little copper shine. In fact, copper accents are at the top of interior decorator’s lists for 2017. It will not only add that extra fashion to any area, but it will also lighten things up and capture the feeling of spring.

When it comes to painting, designers want to let you know that dumping those colors for 2017 would be a very good idea. One of the biggest sellers will be wallpaper – marble wallpaper, as a matter of fact. So many want the real thing, but let’s face it, marble is not exactly an inexpensive update to the home. However, marble wallpaper has seen a 300% increase in interest ranging from Pinterest to Twitter to Facebook and beyond. People are talking about this being the perfect stylish accent to any room. Burying the drab, dark paint colors with that new marble wallpaper offers a perfect touch of class and brightness.

If you are a homeowner stuck on the idea of paint and nothing but paint, however, interior designers are stating that it is time to turn away from black, and choosing navy blue instead. The “go-to” black and white color scheme has faded into the background, whereas the navy and other deep blue tones are making homes shine for spring. Even try adding a high-gloss navy blue statement wall to lift that dark, heavy mood that comes from the black-and-white world of 2016.

If you are looking at updating a smaller space, the décor that’s flying off the shelves at Home Depot and others come in the form of acrylics. Acrylic décor has seen an upswing of over 50% this year already, and see-through acrylic furniture allows a small space to be “opened up” and give the area a look of freedom that it would not normally have if choosing something rustic.

 

Speaking of rustic…. When it comes to larger spaces, there are those that still love that cabin-‘esque’ feel, whether the weather outside is delightful or frightful. One great thing about 2017 is the fact that wood tiles are coming in all different

shades, and are offering a chic look when utilized on everything from the islands in the kitchen to the tiles surrounding the fireplace in the living area. Subway tile has gone down in popularity this year, and focusing on wood will most definitely become a 2017 trend for spring decorating.

And when it comes to that added dash of ‘living’ decoration, the vases full of roses are out the door for 2017. Instead, interior designers are turning to climbing plants to elevate and add style to any room. Not a surprise, when you consider Pantone’s Color of the Year is green. Therefore, decorating your world – whether it be big or small – with lush greenery, like flourishing vines and climbing plants, will rejuvenate your home after the cold winter weather moves away.

So start planning now! By following the trends for 2017, you will most definitely breathe new life back into those old, stuffy rooms.

 

SOURCE:  GIG News

Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood!

 

Ice Cube   

The “Fist Fight” Interview

with Kam Williams

Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood!

Born O’Shea Jackson in Compton, California on June 15, 1969, Renaissance man Ice Cube is an actor, writer, producer, director, rapper, philanthropist and father. N.W.A., the rap group he co-founded with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Cube made his feature film debut in 1991 in Boyz n the Hood, and proceeded to parlay his critically-acclaimed performance into an enviable career. He has become one of the most bankable names in Hollywood as a writer, star and producer.

His production company, Cube Vision, has been making memorable films for over two decades. And his movies have cumulatively grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. Here, he talks about his latest outing in Fist Fight, a comedy co-starring Charlie Day.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Kam Williams: Hey Cube. How you been, brother?

Ice Cube: I’m good, good. How about you, Kam?

KW: Great, thanks. What interested you in Fist Fight?

IC: I thought it was a great concept based on a funny premise. And when they started filling in the pieces with Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan, I just knew we were going to have a great time and hopefully shoot a funny movie.

KW: In this film you play a teacher who is sort of like a bully. Did you ever have a teacher like your character, Mr. Strickland? And were you either bullied or a bully when you were a kid?

IC: In my neighborhood, you were either one or the other. Going back to my memory bank, there were teachers who were no-nonsense and intimidating. Most of them were coaches or gym teachers.But a few were classroom teachers who just didn’t take no mess. I just went over the top with it, because we were having fun with the comedy.

KW: Growing up, was there a spot where kids would settle their differences after school?

IC: There wasn’t just one spot. But it had to be out of sight of teachers, like behind a building, which is where most fights took place. There was never one particular area where we always got down.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

KW: Who came up with the idea of flipping the script by having the after school fight be between two teachers instead of two students?

IC: Well, the script was brought to us by [director] Rich Keen and New Line Cinema. I don’t know exactly who came up with the concept, but that’s what made it funny to me. It’s unusual to have two teachers going at it, instead of two students. That unique premise was one of the things that hooked me.

KW: How did you and Charlie Day go about generating the bully-nerd anti-chemistry that the story called for? How did you know how mean to be without going over the line and ending up looking cruel?

IC: It’s a dance. We had a mutual respect for each other’s skills. And when you have that mutual respect, you’re more giving actors. You’ll make sure he shines where he’s supposed to shine, and vice versa. The key is to not get in the way of the character, and to be honest and true with it. Still, real personalities creep in every now and then. It’s all about knowing the script, and understanding its ebbs and flows. So, we worked well together. I think we’re going to end up doing a few more movies together.

KW: Well, you already set up the sequel to Fist Fight in the closing scene.

IC: Yeah, without a doubt! Without a doubt!

KW: You guys had a terrific supporting cast: Dennis Haysbert, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kym Whitley, Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan. Was this Tracy’s first film since the accident? I don’t remember seeing him in anything.

IC: Yeah, this was his first movie back. It was great to have him. I’d worked with him before in a movie called First Sunday. It was cool to see him again, to be able to hang, and to just have him here. That accident he was in was horrible. It was great to have him around again.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

KW: I’ve interviewed him several times, and he’s one of those rare people who’s just naturally funny.

IC: Yeah, he doesn’t have to tell a joke. All he has to do is talk. He’s just a funny dude. God blesses some people with a gift.

KW: Fist Fight was Richard Keen’s first full-length feature film. It’s pretty impressive considering it was a directorial debut.

IC: Without a doubt! He did a great job. And he’s the one who really sold me on the movie. He cut together a trailer showing what the movie would look like by cutting Charlie and me into pieces of other movies. That sold me. I said, “Dude, if you make this movie that you’re showing me, then I’m in.” and he definitely went above and beyond expectations.

KW: He certainly was able to keep it exciting by setting the film in a high school on Senior Prank Day. That way, all sorts of surprises could pop up during lulls in the action.

IC: Yeah, it’s cool, because people think it’s just a fight, but there are a thousand other things going on. [Chuckles] It’s nice to have a lot of surprises in a movie like this.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from Fist Fight?

IC: I think it’s really talking about the school system, and the underlying problems  that the society’s facing when it comes to educating kids. Do we just coddle them or do we really try to hold them accountable for what they learn?

KW: What do you think of the Academy Awards nominating a half-dozen black actors after none the previous two years?

IC: I don’t really know what they’re going through, but I’m pretty sure the nominees deserved it, and that’s all that matters, that our work is recognized. We don’t want any quotas. Just recognize good work.

KW: Last year, it was unfortunate that your biopic, Straight Outta Compton, was only nominated for Best Original Screenplay. And your scriptwriters were all white.

IC: It ain’t no thing. At least I don’t make movies for no Oscars. i make movies for the people.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

IC: What’s in my wallet? [LOL] Not too much. An I.D. card. That’s it. [Laughs some more]

KW: Thanks again for the time, Cube, and best of luck with the film.

IC: Take it easy, Kam. Catch you later.

Source:  GIG News

Trump and Traditions of the Founders

 
Trump and Traditions of the Founders

By Ezrah Aharone

Maybe I should watch more CNN or MSNBC to be convinced since most Black people seemingly regard Donald Trump as some sort of abrupt political mutation who violates America’s traditions. What I see in Trump is “America’s traditional reflection in the mirror.” I see the exact same hardline and hostile government that the founders deliberately engineered with deep political and racial contradictions, where “democracy in practice” has always deviated from “democracy on paper.”

Ezrah Aharone, national security, traditional politics, Van Jones, American Ways, Guantanamo Bay, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Naturalization Act of 1790So, although Trump is new to American politics, Trump’s politics are not new to America. And while Trump’s style is unorthodox, his ideals do not run counterclockwise against tradition. After all, how do you think America became the most powerful nation in the world in record time? Certainly not by handholding or being non-militaristic like Dr. King dreamed of nationhood. Nor by safeguarding the genuine interests of Blacks, Mexicans, and Muslims at the expense of diluting the staunch Euro-centricities of America’s ideals, identity, and institutions.

Sure, it’s safer to hitchhike onto the patriotic bandwagon or pretend to not see America’s ugliness in the mirror, especially knowing your career or fame can nosedive. This keeps celebrities from “biting the racial hands that feed them.” But the power, development, and national security enjoyed by Americans did not materialize by adherence to precepts of morality or equality or nonviolence or tolerance.

Regardless of “kum-ba-ya” accounts that media commentators get paid millions to peddle, this country was forged into a “puritanical superpower” by WASP men who thought and acted in the very despotic and swashbuckling “American ways” that Trump now loosely babbles and brags openly . . . Be it impulsive comments about immigration and “bad hombre” Mexicans; or torturing Muslims with “waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse;” or military operations to “bomb the shit out of them;” or contrary to Obama’s romanticized plan to close Guantanamo Bay, Trump itches to “load it up with bad dudes.”  

On election night after Trump dethroned Democratic heir Hillary Clinton, (subsequent to manhandling 16 other average-minded Republican candidates), well-paid media personality Van Jones tearfully whimpered: “How do I explain this to my children?”

Well, as Black people who did not arrive as colonists on the Mayflower or Arabella, it’s actually quite easy . . . once you do not moralize the founders with credit they never really earned regarding equality. Then you address 3 traditional traits of Americanization.

First, explain that America ultimately became a multiethnic nation and the adopted homeland for African people – not because of the goodness of democracy – but because of the capitalist aggression and belligerent expansion of the very same US government that Trump now spearheads as a traditional throwback who the founders would be well-pleased.

Contrary to popular immigration notions, America was founded with ethnonationalist aspirations. Under George Washington the Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted citizenship to “free white person[s] . . . of good character.” And like Thomas Jefferson who detailed a 25-year scheme to send all Blacks to Africa, Abraham Lincoln sought the same in effort to transform America into a nation for “free white people everywhere.” So the Trump Doctrine to ban Muslims, build walls, and block Mexicans is neither as un-American nor unprecedented as the media purports.

Second, as Mos Def says, you then “Add the Mathematics” of 85% of US presidents. Explain that from George Washington to John Kennedy, 35 of America’s 43 presidents (Democrats and Republicans) prior to Obama, governed-over administrations where either chattel slavery or boldfaced segregation was legislatively and violently enforced from 1776 to 1964.

Third, explain that Trump’s WASP-appeal to near-63 million voters festered within the modern-day cracks of racial indifference and immoralities that both parties and the remaining 8 presidents (Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush) left unattended. As Trump-like Republicans have inevitably emerged in consequence, Democrats have in turn allowed breeding grounds of inequalities to fester in areas of wealth, health, housing, education, unemployment, street violence, police shootings, incarceration and recidivism.

Although Black America’s present-day instabilities link largely to America’s past inhumanities, both Democratic and Republican establishments have colluded to reject Congressman John Conyer’s H.R. 40 legislation (since 1997) to merely “examine the institution and impact of slavery, and make recommendations on remedies.” Further, neither party regards Lincoln’s 13th Amendment as problematic even though it underhandedly permits slavery to exist “as a punishment for [Black] crime” . . . which fomented convict leasing of yesterday and mass incarceration today.

But now, after centuries of unending struggle, the same Democratic Party is ringleading Black people to flood the streets to condemn Trump’s presidency after mere days . . . That’s like someone conniving you to blame the ground for long-term damages after pushing you off a cliff. Although anti-Trumpness does have its relevancy, the fundamental ire of conscientious Blacks should target the Democratic establishment for its unprincipledness and derelict failure to reciprocate centuries of unselfish Black loyalty.

Comparatively, while Trump brashly swings sharp-edged swords in every direction to preserve White privilege and power, Democrats exercise a stealth version of White privilege and power through artful language, customized media, and “death by a thousand cuts” tactics. Either way, as a body politic, Black people occupy the bottom-most rungs of society . . . just as the founders traditionally devised.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ezrah Aharone, national security, traditional politics, Van Jones, American Ways, Guantanamo Bay, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Naturalization Act of 1790Ezrah Aharone is an adjunct associate professor of political science at Delaware State University. He is also a political and business consultant on African affairs, as well as the author of The Sovereign Psyche, Sovereign Evolution and Pawned Sovereignty. He can be reached at www.EzrahSpeaks.com.

 

 

 

If You Love Water Sports

 

If You Love Water Sports, Maybe it is Time to Love What is Beneath the Surface

By Darren Shepard

I became a Certified PADI Open Water Diver at the age of 18 years old while taking a P.E. Credit in college. I have always loved the water and the idea of becoming a certified diver to take off on a few adventures made a lot of sense to me.

Actually, my first experience scuba diving was with my family on a short vacation in the Ozarks on Gerry’s Ferry lake when I was 16 years old in 1982.  I was taught about the gear and actually made a couple of shallow dives with family members to just see what it was like. I do not recommend doing this today and certification is not only necessary but required.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to take a few trips, including in the Bahamas, Jamaica and certainly several areas in Florida. In addition, I have made many fresh water dives in several larger lakes and reservoirs at the right time of year as well.  My biggest problem is with so many outdoor interest from fishing, boating, hunting and more, I never seem to have enough time to make as many dive trips as I did when I was younger.  Plus, I need to keep current with my dive logs, practice and up keep of gear.

What I do know, is my wife and I have been planning a trip for some time and the opportunity to dive again is approaching. Interesting to me, I had to reach out to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to get another copy of my certification so I can begin getting things in order for a trip later in the year.

In addition, my son and step daughter expressed interest in learning to scuba dive as well. I found it interesting, but with our families love of the water and outdoors it only makes sense.  Plus, at the age of 15 years old or under, PADI offers a Junior Open Water Diver Certification as well.

With so many vacation options for so many of us that love the water, what an interesting idea to make sure that our kids learn about what is beneath the surface of the water instead of just fishing in it or tubing on top of it.

Some of the most brilliant colors, fish and adventures for me have been while diving. Especially in shallow water such as in the Florida Keys, where sunlight offers the brilliance of coral colors that everyone would be in awe of during the dive.

If you love the water and so does your family, maybe checking into scuba diving is a great option for you. It certainly beats having the kids playing video games or messing with their phones all of the time. Plus, getting started is easy and this is a great time to do so in order to get everyone certified for a great summer diving vacation.

Check out PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) website for more information and a list of instructors close to you. www.padi.com

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Hinds Finds Tubman a Spiritual Calling!

 

Aisha Hinds   
The “Underground” and “Shots Fired” Interview

with Kam Williams

Hinds Finds Tubman a Spiritual Calling!

Aisha Hinds,     The “Underground" and "Shots Fired” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Star Trek: Into Darkness, If I Stay,Beyond the LightsTrue Blood, Prison Break, Under the Dome, WeedsAisha Hinds is a Brooklyn, NY native who initially entered showbiz in modern dance. She parlayed success in that field into an acting career which has spanned a vast array of projects ranging from feature films like Star Trek: Into Darkness, If I Stay and Beyond the Lights to such hit TV shows as True Blood, Prison Break, Under the Dome and Weeds.

Here, Aisha talks about playing American icon Harriet Tubman on Underground, a docudrama about the Underground Railroad. The second season of Underground is set to premiere on the WGN network on March 8th. Aisha also reflects upon her role as Pastor Janae James on Shots Fired, a timely TV series debuting on the Fox network on March 22nd. 

Kam Williams: Hi Aisha, thanks for the interview.

Aisha Hinds: My pleasure, Kam. I deeply appreciate this opportunity. So, thank YOU!

KW: I told my readers I’d be interviewing you, so I’ll be mixing their questions in with mine.

AH: Sounds great! Delighted to talk with the readers as well as yourself.

KW: What interested you in Underground?

AH: I became an instant fan of the show seconds into the opening frames of the pilot. When that drone shot carried us through the main house with Rosalie, played so unflinchingly-brilliantly by Jurnee Smollett Bell, I signed on for the ride. I saw that this show was about to elucidate this age-old narrative in a way that was both edgy and engaging. The artistry on the show is apparent in each episode. From the riveting writing to the purposeful and precise direction, the masterful work of the DP [Director of Photography] Kevin McKnight and his crew, and the layers and depths each actor goes to to ensure we the audience feel a human connection to these characters led me to sign my name on the dotted line. The cherry on top was the pulsating and powerful use of music to punctuate the story.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier would like to know what Harriet Tubman means to you and how you prepared to play her.

AH: She is a legend, an icon, a soldier on the side of justice, a spiritual warrior, and a servant of God, as well as the one of the baddest women to literally ever walk the land. I surrendered to her spirit. She lived such a full, complex, and irrefutably-dynamic life that all the craft in the world would be insufficient in honoring her legacy. I did my homework, of course, by inhaling as much literature as was available to find, so that when it was time to shoot I could hopefully exhale her. However, the real truth is that her spirit is so POWERFUL that it consumes you. I was literally reduced to basic breath and blinks while she inhabited my vessel and told her story through me.

KW: Since Patricia is from Canada, she would like to know whether any episodes will be shot on location there and if the series will explore the historical connections between the Underground Railroad and Canada? 

AH: Thank God for Canada! In the context of this narrative and beyond, Canada was certainly an additional option for the many traveling the treacherous terrain of the Underground Railroad in pursuit of what was perceived as “freedom.” Once the Fugitive Slave Act took effect, the Northern states were no longer safe for those who managed to escape from being enslaved. The second season of Underground does explore Canada’s role in providing a welcoming place for the thousands who were in danger of being captured and returned to their owners, and those who escaped by way of rerouting beyond the American borders. Though this part of history is included in the season, we did not shoot on location in Canada.

Aisha Hinds,     The “Underground" and "Shots Fired” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Star Trek: Into Darkness, If I Stay,Beyond the LightsTrue Blood, Prison Break, Under the Dome, Weeds

KW: Patricia was also wondering whether the show will cover less well-known aspects of Tubman’s life. like the fact that she was a spy during the Civil War for the Union army, and that she collaborated with John Brown to free slaves.

AH: There will be a wealth of facts revealed and revisited in this season pertaining to Harriet Tubman. That is a huge part of my excitement, the fact that this generation will get such a beautifully-detailed introduction to a hero and icon that has largely lived in a few pages of our history books and in one-dimensional photographs.

KW: How would you describe the series’ main message? 

AH: Each season, the series has explored a theme. This season, it is “Citizen vs. Soldier.” Are we citizens watching the world and its atrocities unfold from the sidelines, or are we engaged in the battle as soldiers, taking a stand and joining the army to fight against injustice?

KW: Tell me a little about Shots Fired. Sanaa Lathan was very excited about the show, when we talked about it last fall.

AH: I share her excitement!! It was a project that, interestingly enough, provided a unique opportunity as an artist to engage in the fight against injustice, and explore the ongoing debate and dialogue surrounding who and what lives matter. The show is an autopsy of our criminal justice system, a space where the conversation surrounding the issues in our country is offering a seat at the table to all the voices to be heard, a murder mystery, and grassroots look at our own humanity as we move through the parts and pieces of the story.

KW: The plotline sounds very timely, although it flips the script by having a black cop shooting a white teenager.

AH: Sadly, this plot is one that doesn’t lack source material. It’s a narrative that has been timely for a very long time. In such, when Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood began to assemble the cast, which is a rather large ensemble of very talented powerhouse players, everyone wholeheartedly signed up to stand in service of this story, knowing and understanding how important it is to exhaust and explore its many facets.

KW: What’s it like playing a pastor and what role does your character play in terms of keeping the peace?

AH: It was such a delight to express a part of myself that has long been reserved for my own sacred journey through life-spirituality. Digging into the depths of my heart to widen its capacity and unpack what it would mean to carry the burden for an entire congregation and community that looks to you for answers and guidance during trying times was both a joy and a revelation. Pastors carry a tremendous responsibility. Pastor Janae is a lifelong Gate Station resident, a community activist, and a powerful pastor vested in the lives which have been entrusted to her by way of The Chosen House, her small neighborhood church. Throughout the 10-hour event series, she finds herself in positions that challenge the government, expose deeply-rooted conflicts, and contemplates effective methods for her community to resist in the face of blatant injustice. Her journey also demands she take an autopsy of her own humanity, examining what she is driven by and what she cares about ultimately.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

AH: Biggie : Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G.” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001PIHUB8/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

AH: One that comes to mind was being double-parked outside of my grandmother’s house in East New York, Brooklyn while my mom ran inside for a moment, and I moved the gear on the car from PARK to DRIVE… and the car started to move. I was so scared. I was way too little to know how to drive, and so I quickly threw the gear back into park and the car stopped moving, thankfully. This was back in the day when the gears were controlled by the stick that was next to the steering wheel as opposed to in a center console area like most modern cars. Needless to say, my mother let me have it.

KW: The Morris Chestnut question: Was there any particular moment in your childhood that inspired you to become the person you are today?

AH: Yes, one of the first memories I have was watching Whoopi Goldberg perform her one-woman show on Broadway on HBO. She moved seamlessly through an array of spirited and soul-stirring characters, each one holding a mirror up to me and allowing me in many ways to see a reflection of myself on screen. I felt validated and valued, and here was this woman inside my television screen who gave me a voice.  It didn’t immediately register with me that this was what I would eventually be doing with my life for today’s generation. It was also incredibly serendipitous that I would later learn I shared a birthday with Whoopi. I went on to be inspired by many other artists and forms of art, and was soon directed to a place that would help harness my experiences and develop my voice within the craft, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?

AH: My Granny.

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?

AH: Definitely! I had praying grandmothers who bathed me in “The Word” and filled the atmosphere with worship. Though I developed my own personal spiritual relationship later in life, the foundation they laid is what my faith was built upon. I am indebted to them always for cradling me in the heart of Christ and encouraging my passion to press towards the mark of the high calling on my life, wherever that takes me.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

AH: Stuffed snapper.

KW: Craig Robinson asks: What was your last dream?

AH: Tuh, that is based on the assumption that there’s actually time to sleep these days. We’re living in a time where we all got to STAY WOKE!

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

AH: An opportunity to honor the legacy of the lives drawn into the lines in my face, the broad of my nose, the dark of my eyes, the fullness of my lips, and coal in my complexion.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

AH: A just world.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

AH: My nephew’s laughter!

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

AH: None that I can honestly think of right now, which means the folks have asked some great questions thus far in my lifetime.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

AH: Does this come with a free shipment of clothing from them?! I got questions about your questions!

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

AH: Remakes are awesome, especially when it honors yet adds a new component or dimension to the original. But truthfully, we have so many stories, lives and subjects to explore that I’d love to keep pushing towards new knowledge.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

AH: Study and know that we are always a student of the craft well after we’ve completed any course of study… and approach the work as a servant, not a star.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

AH: As a small piece of the puzzle sent here to serve a bigger picture.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

AH: Here you go! I got more questions about your questions. [LOL] Is someone volunteering to put something IN it, if it’s empty, or naw?

KW: Thanks again for the time, Aisha, and best of luck with both TV-series.

AH: I appreciate you taking the time to give me a space to discuss the work and the journey to and within it. Thank you so very much, Kam.


Source:  GIG News

Leave the Jokes to the Comedians

 

Leave the Jokes to the Comedians

by Amy Lignor

 

People fall into specific “categories.” Of course, these categories were set by someone else who basically just had a louder mouth or deeper pocket than the rest of the people speaking at the time.

In this article, however, there is no such thing as Democrat or Republican. Why is that? Because if you really believe that People fall into specific “categories.” Of course, these categories were set by someone else who basically just had a louder only one of these two particular categories consistently gave America the “best of the best” then you most certainly haven’t paid one bit of attention to history. Some Presidents were bad; others good. Yet all made mistakes. It came down to how they handled them as to how well they actually did their jobs. Some stopped wars; others created them.

To this day (and you can find this in any poll you’d like to look up), a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln remains the most “popular” President that the U.S. ever voted into office. Now…remember, this is a man who did oversee a war – the worst war for America, in fact, because it was simply us against us. Perhaps it was the way he fought; what he declared; how he handled some of the worst situations ever seen; whatever it was, Abraham Lincoln has kept his title of “Honest Abe” in the largest number of households across this country. (That’s both Democrat and Republican households, folks.)

 

The upside of America has always been freedom. There are millions who back up an idiotic campaign that then, perhaps four years later, stop hailing and start ‘turning away’ from. This works the opposite way as well. There are those who rail against an idea, law or movement just to – perhaps, four years later – state that they absolutely supported that idea and the others who did not were idiots. In other words, we have the freedom of indecision. We have the freedom to change our minds. And we have the freedom to make a joke if we feel like it. Perhaps right now, however, people are discovering that this recent joke has gone too far.

 

You’re all immigrants. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. Unless you are a Native American (keyword: native) reading this article, you are an immigrant. Somewhere in your background came a family who worked, who tried, who perhaps faced tyranny, oppression and WALLS that they could not get over in order to be free and at least get a “shot” at something better. Were all your relatives criminals? I doubt that. Did all of them ruin America? Actually, no. They started it. They made mistakes. They faced indecision, war, etc. But it was how they handled these situations that made them who they were at their very core. Some were wrong; you can bet on that. In fact, if you reach the age of five there’s a 100% chance you’ve made a mistake along the way.

Now, with something that really started as nothing more than a joke, a man wants you to believe that America is being completely and utterly destroyed by immigrants – illegal immigrants, of course. Therefore, in order to stop this, we shall simply “close our borders” to various countries and people. (Well, the countries that he does not have personal businesses operating in.) No offense to anyone out there, but crime will occur with illegal or legal immigrants at the helm. Why? Because there will always be crime. There will always be bad people who make bad decisions. That is a simple fact; nothing more.

In the driver’s seat, in 2017, is a man who knows how to collect cash but has absolutely no political background whatsoever. This is a man who is now walking through halls, marching past paintings of former Presidents who stood for something. Some stood for idiocy, I grant you that. All made a bad decision or two during their time. But many made this country what it is today: a place where people want to live. Can all that work be undone by a big mouth or a bad joke? I hope not.

 

The one we are supposed to hail now in America is one who has late night talk show hosts gaining more comedy fodder, and the likes of SNL placing him in the category of “Mr.” and most certainly NOT “Mr. President.” Will he have good days and do the right things? That’s a chance every voter who sided with this man took. And all those others who simply thought it was a funny joke at the time. In the end, walls and borders and a path of hate and dominance will most certainly destroy what this whole country was built on. By starting out this way, it would not be a stretch to see this country get to the day when the inscription on Lady Liberty will have to be changed. If so, maybe that’s the day everyone will see that the jokes should be left up to the comedians who get paid to make them. Because, whether Republican or Democrat, this one is absolutely not funny.

 

Source:  GIG News