Echo

Life is not free

So quickly can it be taken from me. No reimbursement or early disconnection fees

From the cell towers I hear the echo in the streets. White vans and stained seats

I wonder what he was thinking When his spirit finished sinking

To oblivion

Just a text before it was done

What can I do to lay with the sun

Never look directly into the light

until you’re ready to fight. It shines in front of closed eyes

fear keeps them shut to their purpose.

Many of us who face the plight we call life.

We need fresh air…walk outside to try and breathe but see…

Out there I can still hear the echos in the streets

The vibrations in my sleep. I can still see the white van and stained seat.

Pierced a hole in my soul. No hopes of ever being whole

again.

Pierced a hole in my soul. I hope I am made whole

again.

Lord please forgive my sins for I am angry.

I envy them all when they’re still able to crawl and cry into daddy’s shirt, play dress up in mommy’s skirt. Sit in daddy’s game day chair. No worries cuz he always there.

He and I were a great pair.

Were.

So open and closed, but close .I shared my very soul. It filled me with such comfort. Encouraged me to keep pushing through strong winds and shady kin.

Keep steps to success discreet and strike when they are sleeping on me.

The echo through the streets, and upon a clean seat

Sat a picture of me, in the hands of the one finally at peace.

In my dreams the light cradles me slow. Speaks of being free, but dangles the keys out in front of me.

Daddy can I go?

Daddy, let go.

Please let me go.

Let go.

Let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my People

To my people, I am sorry.

I speak to those of all heritage. Not just to black or white, but to ALL.

I want to apologize for confusing you with my internal conflicts, the complex I didn’t realize existed until about a year ago in an exchange with an elderly customer.

“Excuse me ma’am,” the woman said at the top of her lungs.  Assuming she had poor hearing, I inched closer to her to reply, “Yes ma’am what’s going on?” “Well I was looking for your manager,” she said. “Okay which one in particular?”

“You know, the colored one.”

Pause.

I stared into her eyes of no remorse or even awareness that, for one, no one says that anymore, and, two, it’s not okay. I stood there in awe before I, “….you know, colored, like you. ”

Oh, she was really serious. Alright. “You mean black? If so, there are quite a few of us here.” Heart racing, blood boiling, I walked quickly over to the nearest phone to access the loud speaker and beckoned this lovely lady to follow.

“COLORED MANAGERS TO DRESSES PLEASE. COLORED MANAGERS TO DRESSES.”

I glared at her. She smiled in approval. Surely, the store manager rushes over, burning a hole in my face with her disbelief. “Yes, this woman was looking for the colored manager.”

Pause.

Alright so I didn’t actually get to announce that. I only got to say: “[Name] to dresses please.” I had the pleasure of enduring her questions about us coloreds: my hair, why I was so skinny, why my hair wasn’t straightened like the majority of the girls in the vicinity. Anyway, I called my dad immediately after work to tell him about the ordeal. He chuckled at my story.

“Baby girl, Is this the first time you’ve heard that? She was old huh? That’s just how it is, don’t let it get to you.”

It was then, I realized my silence. I was made so very aware of my skin in that moment. It wasn’t the first time I heard something like that from an elderly majority. I had an impeccable ability to pretend that it meant nothing to me.

All this time I have said nothing.

I grew up in a fairly diverse area. I knew I was unique and I embraced it. I was blessed to be around people of all shades. At the end of my 5th grade year at Epps Island Elementary. I had to move to the south side to Dowling Middle School, where I experience a giant culture shock. Suddenly, I became “that skinny light-skinned girl with good hair”. I was too skinny, too smart, and to proper. This made people uncomfortable and I didn’t understand why. I struggled to find a balance and abandoned my true self to fit in with those in my culture, even still I was not good enough.

For this I am sorry.

My people, I am not the friend who grants you racism immunity. “I have a black friend….” I will not flatten my fro to avoid scaring you. I will no longer hide my frustration with the justice system. I told myself Sandra Bland was a coincidence. Eric Garner was a coincidence…countless others were all coincidences. I have told you that it was nonsense. I should have corrected you when you said,”but you’re not really black.” For that, I am sorry. Obama’s presidency has not suppressed or ended racism, but has, in fact, magnified it. Trump has given people permission to hobble out of their racist closets to speak hateful thoughts and call people “sensitive” for having a problem with it.

Black jokes are not funny anymore.

There are bad apples out there in every color, but they don’t all need a hashtag. My people, you can’t be offended because a hashtag was not made for you. #Blacklivesmatter because they actually don’t matter to many, but this in no way diminishes your value. My people, no one is personally attacking you. I am simply asking you to take responsibility. Use your privilege to stand up to your racist uncles or aunties. Be kind. Be selfless. Be attentive.

To my people. White jokes aren’t funny anymore. You don’t have to tear down one to lift up another. We have a duty, a responsibility to inform our people, all people, the ways of the world. We have a responsibility to improve our image to those who doubt us. Success speaks louder than disorganized protests and riots. I have sat, silent, in fear of being rejected again, by my people. For that, I am sorry. Change begins within. Do not oppress or limit yourself; society does a great job of that.

For the record…I don’t “talk white”, I speak English.

To my people , I love you all. None of us are perfect. No one is attacking you personally, I am only asking you to take responsibility. Uplift our women, our men, our baby girls and boys. Enlighten the parents who segregate  and embrace prejudice mindset. Spread the love.

There is a uniqueness in every culture. It’s a beautiful thing when you can accept that.

-Fly

HONOR Alton Sterling and Philando Castile June 2016

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr 

March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom

Leaders of March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom marching w. signs (R-L) Rabbi Joachim Prinz, unident., Eugene Carson Blake, Martin Luther King, Floyd McKissick, Matthew Ahmann & John Lewis. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday

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Dreams to action: STACK Sports Performance Facility

better

STACK Baytown Owners: Mary Lou (Left) and Pierre Russell (Right)

When passion meets purpose great things can happen. Together, entrepreneurs and Sam Houston State University Alumni, Pierre and Mary Lou Russell run their newly opened sports training facility, STACK in Baytown, TX.

Stack Baytown, one of the many facilities in the STACK Velocity franchise, specializes in making better athletes in a variety of sports such as soccer, track, basketball, and others. Every coach is certified, has obtained a degree, with a passion that dedicates them to the sport. Mary Lou and Pierre are two of the many coaches.

Additionally, STACK is able to offer rehabilitation to athletes recovering from injury or surgeries. Russell optimizes the gym space particularly well with a fully equipped “victory rack” or adult jungle gym, holding up to 50 people.

Additionally,  STACK is able to offer rehabilitation to athletes recovering from injury or surgeries. Russell optimizes the gym space particularly well with a fully equipped “victory rack” or adult jungle gym, holding up to 50 people.

victory

The victory rack offers diversity in workouts.

Pierre and Mary Lou’s location offers specific training for athletes as young as 6 years old to pro athlete. They alternate coaches and plans with different work outs every time. STACK also acts as an open gym venue for non-athletes looking to stay in shape (general fitness). Coaches are in the vicinity to assist in the use of equipment that may be unfamiliar or difficult to use.

“Many times people can be embarrassed to ask for help at a typical gym or there’s no help available,” Russell said. “Here we make sure to be there to guide them.”

A few of the specific private training sessions are competition prep- bodybuilding, women’s bikini, women’s figure, and men and women’s physique. It also includes general fitness and weight loss.

(Not sold yet? Scroll to the bottom to view info & a sweet slideshow )

The newlyweds also travel the country competing in body building events with their team Strength of Body and Mind (SBM). Most recently, the pair participated in the NPC National Body Building Championship in Miami Florida in hopes of securing their pro card.

Mary Lou Munguia (Russell) competes particularly in bikini while Pierre takes on men’s physique. (See Mary Lou win Overall Bikini NPC 2015)

After weeks of training and prepping, 10 seconds on stage will determine whether or not they secure the prize. Mary Lou placed 11th while another SBM member placed 4th. Regardless the outcome, they have STACK Baytown to continue towards their goals and helping others to do the same.

During his college years at SHSU, Pierre Russell created and ran an after school fitness program for kids that sparked his desire to open his own facility to keep kids active. He wishes to continue working to extend STACK’s reach.

“I would love to be involved with (SHSU) colleges more to help and be an inspiration to others and potentially help them graduate,” Pierre Russell said.

Internships are available to students approaching graduation and interested in entering sports training or related fields. Contact STACK Baytown at 281-838-8336.

For a more in depth look at STACK Baytown’s services visit http://www.velocitysp.com/baytown. They are open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 6 a.m. to 1 p.m, and closed Sundays.

Fun Fact: Pierre believes that one the most difficult obstacles in opening STACK was the fear of disappointing those who believe in him, but one of the sayings at STACK motivates to absolve any fear. That saying is “Let’s EAT!”                         (eat em up Kats? No? Alright)

I’ve had the pleasure of encountering some of the most determined, hard working people at Sam Houston. There is always a sense of family and togetherness among Bearkats. I believe that same feeling translates over to STACK. When in Baytown, pay Mary Lou and Pierre a visit. Fun fact #2: They will celebrate their wedding anniversary December 21st. Show them love!

 

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Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: kafee1867 | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter:@kiz_nichole | Facebook: kizzie.frank

 

 

 

 

Review: ‘Steve Jobs’ does a better Job

“There is a small girl who believes you’re her father…what are you going to do about that?”

“God sent his only son on a suicide mission, but we like him anyway cause’ he made trees,” 🙂

Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) said as he sat in his dressing room brushing powder on his cheeks before the launch of the first Mac Computer.

“Steve Jobs” the second film made since 2013 in honor of the late Steve Jobs is centered around the premise of the tech giant behind Apple Inc. Based primarily on the character of an icon Steve Jobs and the way he effected those around him, the offers a more personal look into his life.

With Danny Boyle as director (28 days Later, Slumdog Millionaire) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), “Steve Jobs” exudes promise at the box office and to the hearts of the masses. The film has made over $520k in its first week of limited release beginning October 9th. The film due to hit screens everywhere on October 23rd.

(UPDATE: “Steve Jobs” grossing $2.7 million so far. Now on big screens every where! Click here )

Rather than watching a story about the man who created Apple it is simply a story about the man. It is a personal look into the life of the innovator and acts as a kudos/critique version with a little fluff. It is a moving, and truly thought provoking film, especially when thinking about how much Apple Inc has impacted societal and individual thinking.

Reminiscent of three acts in a stage play, “Steve Jobs” occurs over the course of three prominent product launches from 1988 to 1998 with scenes of importance in between. Every line delivered by Fassbender flowed so effortlessly in interacting with the other characters. Previously starring as young Magneto in “X-men: First Class”, Fassbender’s commanding presence allows him to fully submerge in the main character.

Enter Seth Rogan as Steve “Woz” Wozniak to simply ask Jobs to mention developers of the Apple II, a project Jobs previously collaborated with Woz on, in his speech right before the launch. Enter Katherine Waterson as Steve Jobs’ baby’s momma Chrisann Brennan, followed by Makenzie Moss as 5 year old Lisa Brennan to collect monies due for child support all before the Mac launch. This is a theme seen in each “act”: right before a launch, all hell breaks loose.

Jobs’ first CEO, John Scully (Jeff Daniels) was painted in the beginning as a father figure to Jobs and a menacing snake by the end. One scene that especially stands out is one right before the launch of the black cube with Jobs’ new company NeXT. Sculley calmly sits in a chair in the middle of a lengthy corridor, waiting for Jobs to enter. The two enter a quarrel that can be difficult to keep up with for those with selective hearing, but the tension between the two in that moment pulls viewers to the edge of their seats.

There are a few scenes that can make viewers feel as though they are in the movie. Just watching this film, there is overdose of euphoria by the sheer energy of the crowds awaiting the infamous Steve Jobs before launches. At each launch little Lisa Brennan enters at the perfect time, diffusing any tension. There are a few things that are just plain weird. One in particular, Chrisann comes back, seemingly high on something, arguing with Jobs about money. Jobs casually stands up, enters a bathroom where I used my imagination and decided he was dipping his feet in toilet water and putting his shoes back on. Confused? Me too. It was a strangely delightful “wait…what?” moment.

Going in, viewers should know that Steve Jobs has already passed away, but “Steve Jobs” does not highlight his deteriorating health or death. Even though the movie is somewhat dark and raw, there are a few hints of refreshing humor. It ends with an uplifting reconciliation with his eldest daughter, Lisa.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011 Cred: Jonathan Mak

Steve Jobs 1955-2011
Cred: Jonathan Mak

In the 2013 version “Jobs” Ashton Kutcher’s role was Steve Jobs and I have to say, Fassbender blew him out of the water within the first five or ten minutes of the film. As an android/PC user, I had the pleasure of seeing “Steve Jobs” before seeing “Jobs” so I went in completely unbiased. Kutcher attempted to embody Steve Jobs down to his walk, but it just didn’t give it to me. Kutcher’s high energy moments just touched the caliber of Fassbender’s calm. The characters highlighted in “Steve Jobs” made more sense than those in “Jobs”. Kate Winslet as Joana Hoffman, head of marketing, stepped in as Jobs’ confidant and advisor, especially when it came to his daughter, whom he denies multiple times.  “Jobs” focuses more on the product versus Jobs character.

If I were asked which version was better I would say “Jobs” was maybe 6.5 out of 10, but “Steve Jobs”, hands down, more entertaining and moving. It could easily get any character involved an Oscar nomination, specifically Fassbender and Rogan. (Sorry Mr. Kutcher)

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The Great Divide

The Great Divide.

Students…take a seat and

Let us partake in…words

How do we define peace/ when our

Levels of stress can only be relieved with our skin caressed in sweat

When does the struggle subside?

You see, the truth lies in the lies in the eyes of politicians and the dispositions of society to oppress

We dehydrate in the fire, forced to drink our tears to survive

Most hide behind the lines of the Great Divide

Take it back to the purple, black, and white folk

Words of folklore derived from our purple black and white ancestors. The Great Divide

So how do we define peace? Who really, is the ally?

Through rhythms, rhymes and haikus; Shakespeare sonnets and melodies

All granted by the hands of God himself, to bridge the gap. The Great Divide

Music as art, art as war, war as a hindrance to all innocence

Art as music, as war must commence in our struggle to stop the struggle

To achieve the peace

Break it into pieces, call it …words.

Use it to paint tapestries that lick the stature of the Mona Lisa. Resting point

At the Great Divide

Words as art, art as music trickle down from the top of the cranium, and kick off the tips of a pen onto

A rhythmic canvass, like morning dew in the sweetest meadows of Greece. Peace. In the Great Divide

In the mind of an artist, of a dreamer, there is such word as retire

Retire to the prison

Prisoners within walls of fire, that is, the walls of the edge of our desires

When we find ourselves between these rocks and other hard places, we search for embraces only to

find empty spaces

Ironically, we can find peace behind its own definition which so happens to be

The lack of hesitation as a single nation, under God

That is, HE who is the motivation, up high where stress is no threat

Up high is the direction to aim. To the other side of the middle of the Great Divide

Just when the struggle to battle the struggle subsides, consistency has a tendency to die

Common passersby call it cries, we call it…words. So we continue to drink our tears to survive

Walk through the wastelands left by man.

Art as music, music as war, and war as a challenge

Music as war as art as poetry. Call it…words

-Fly

After thought: What are some things you can take from this poem? How do you think the fight for social/racial/gender equality is going? Are you a soldier in that fight?

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: kafee1867 | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter:@kiz_nichole | Facebook: kizzie.frank

Inspired by:

itdoesntmatter

It’s just another day…right?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!

You would have been 50 today. Creative. Wise. Powerful and extremely loving to the lives of many. Most of whom you didn’t know you have touched. Exactly 4 months ago today around this same time 3:47 p.m, I was still in denial about you taking your last breath.

But today…oh but today, I miss you like crazzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy and I have accepted your absence. When August first rolled around, I was writing everyone’s birthday on my calendar and wrote yours first. Since then, I have been thinking of way I could honor your memory. I thought of creating some sad ritual that I would do on all of your birthdays, but the day has actually come and I think I…we all should rejoice.

model

His model car looks something like this. Actual photo coming soon.

Last year, I gave you a kit for a model red corvette for your birthday. You hand crafted that tiny car with your stubby fingers a day after. I’m so proud of that thing. (once I get a hold of it I will post the picture here) So I figured…why not attempt to build one of those cars myself? Maybe not this year but it’s a thought!

(click here to witness Dad being a goofball)

You always told us that birthdays, holidays, and pay days are still just days. There is some truth to that because the world keeps going no matter what we may be celebrating, but Faja…I partially disagree. You were born today! Without your birth I obviously wouldn’t be here; the world would not have been graced by your presence. And even when you disagreed with me about subjects such as that, you always made sure to uplift and encourage me; you always found a way to make your baby girl laugh. I hope that one day my children will love and cherish me as much as I do you.

You taught me to value myself. You taught me how to love a man and how I should be loved. From you, I learned to keep pushing and how to “Fake it till you make it”. You were so real. You never sugar coated anything for anyone. You never changed yourself for anyone. You were 100% you, and taught me to not be ashamed of being 100% me. Thank you dad. You have been the driving force in my life. Thank you for hanging on as long as you did.

Today, I will celebrate your life. Within me, you will live forever. I love you daddy! Peace out.

-Fly (your baby girl)

Daddy!

Dad’s first ever selfie.

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Straight Outta Compton: Ruthless in the box office

It’s been a long time coming, but I needed to share my experience of watching the NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton. When the movie first hit the big screen, August 14th 2015, I decided to stray away in case of a huge line. It ended up being sort of a family outing with my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, sister and two of my brothers. I warned them of all the profanity and possible nudity that would inevitably take place, but to my delight, we went anyway.

Besides the fact that the movie was obviously not meant for sensitive ears, I was hoping for authenticity of times that were a little before my own. When hip-hop was fresh and gangster rap was the thing to do, when police brutality was not nearly as visible as it is now. I worried about the cast, just as I always am with any biopic. I watched this film in full on consumer mode. I did not want to ruin it in light of all the things I have learned about film,scripts, and all that jazz in college. I went in to get some insight on NWA whom I knew of and listened to with older cousins, aunts and uncles. I wanted to take a stroll through the 80s and early 90s of music.

(Who/what is NWA: Click here)

Before reading all the articles nitpicking at Straight Outta Compton, I thought about why this film gave me, and many others, so much life. And so much yes! Before I get into it, if you have not yet seen Straight Outta Compton, run away now.

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. Obviously. Its a biopic…life is a spoiler for this movie.

With Straight Outta Compton being expected to dominate the box office for it’s second weekend, there are a few reasons why it has already made over $80 million within its first week in theaters.

Straight Outta Compton cast were splitting images and attitudes

The film opens with Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E going in to collect money from a possible drug or gun deal. That opening scene ends with Mitchell hopping on the rooftop Assassin’s creed style.The beginning snatches the viewers attention to say the least. As it goes on we meet Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella, and Aldis Hodge as MC Ren.

nwa

Cast of Straight Outta Compton

Cast of Straight Outta Compton

Director of Straight Outta Compton F. Gary Gray expressed that the cast was not chosen because of how they looked, but I’m sure there had to be factored in some where. I mean…come on.

Viewers experience the light and dark of NWA

concert

NWA was/is referred to as “The Most Dangerous Rap Group”. I believe their image prompted many to expect a movie that was purely dark, however, there were many scenes of laughter, love, and joy. Viewers get a taste of what it could have been like to experience the hype of a NWA concert. Before a prominent performance in the film NWA in Detroit, where they are prompted by police to not perform the song “F**k the Police”. Of course they perform it and were (to put it lightly) placed under arrest for “inciting a riot” with smiles on their faces. Ice Cube intended for the movie to show more of the lighter side of NWA and welcomes those who want it to have something different to make their own.

“We were kids, doing hip-hop and becoming famous. It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, FBI? Oh, yeah — policemen too, huh?’ We were having fun until the police came and fucked with us. In between that, we were having fun. Coming from those neighborhoods, you don’t have this ‘Woe is me’ attitude. You have this, ‘Shit, I survived yesterday; I should be able to survive today, using my instincts. But where’s the fun at? What are we doing?’ We’re not just going to be sitting and sulking… -Ice Cube

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/14-things-we-learned-about-straight-outta-compton-

For those complaining about not having the movie dark enough…Eazy-E dies. Dr. Dre’s little brother dies, Suge Knight and all his unnecessarily violent shenanigans,there is a glimpse of the L.A Riots and Rodney King getting beat in the streets. Not dark enough for you?

There is another moment of “Bye Felicia”

Eazy-E chasing

Eazy-E chasing “Felicia’s” bae.

According to Ice Cube, the line “Bye Felicia” from the hit movie Friday was not premeditated. A character’s name happened to be Felicia, and that character happened to be leaving the area. Regardless of whether or not a viewer knew where the saying came from, most would at least know that it exists. If not…bye Felicia.

The film is Rated R. Meaning the aforementioned nudity, violence, and language is probably 5% censored.

Most members of NWA are still living. With the recent release of films such as “Amy”, (biopic of Amy Winehouse), “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B”, “Whitney”, most of the main artists are not living. This granted the cast, director, and Universal the direct insight into the lives of specific members of the group and the people they were surrounded by. With Ice Cube and Dr. Dre present in some way on set everyday, the actors were able to get one on one mentoring from the people they were portraying. MC Ren and DJ Yella even made appearances despite their short camera time in the film, as they were unfortunately overlooked in the movie.

Straight Outta Compton came in right on time

In light, or giant shadow, of all the recent televised footage of police brutality, the film was moved by that theme. There is a personal connection to the issues happening today to those of the past; the vehicle: NWA’s music. NWA’s music is brutally honest against the brutal truths many experienced. Many of what was shown is still happening today and can catapult more into the movement of racial equality and weeding out the bad seeds of the police force.

(Cast and Ice Cube Talks Police Brutality)

It inspired Dr. Dre to bless us with his genius once again

I’m sure that by now, many know that Dr. Dre has released his album inspired by the film. Let’s make it very clear that this is not a soundtrack to the movie, but was made as a result of it. It is much like Jay Z’s “American Gangster” that was inspired the film American Gangster starring Denzel Washington. More importantly Kendrick Lamar, Jill Scott, The Game, Snoop Dogg and many others are featured in “Compton” over 16 tracks. The album is now available. (click album cover for link)
compton

For a two and a half hour film, it was explosive from beginning to end.

The film was roughly two and a half hours long. There was not a moment that my eyes were able to direct themselves away from the screen. I enjoyed seeing who they cast as Snoop Dogg and Tupac and wanted so badly to see more of them. The two actors (Marcc Rose as Tupac & Keith Stanfield as Snoop) did a phenomenal job as well, but I had to keep in mind that this was a movie about NWA specifically.

I heard one of my cousins say,” I didn’t know Ice Cube was a rapper.” Whenever someone enters the theater to watch this, they will come out, enlightened. Though “Ray” will forever have my heart, this film has become one of my favorites that I can watch over and over.I came close to shedding a tear, laughed hysterically, and rapped terribly in one sitting. Straight Outta Compton will continue to live on in generations to come.

-Fly

nwaaway

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

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