As we celebrate MLK day in 2016 I can’t help but wonder if we’re still progressing or actively digressing? The undertone of racial bias and injustices never disappeared after Dr. King’s efforts, they just became illegal (technically) and more subversive. There have been many reminders in recent memory that this illness still consumes the minds and fabric of this country. Whether you pay attention to politics, education, entertainment or legal matters in the news…the elephant looms large in the room.
For instance, it is loud and clear that a candidate can skyrocket up the polls by judging people by their nationality as opposed to the content of their character. This high level of support is the darkness coming back to light and the numerous examples of his follower’s actions prove it. Just listening to the sounds of the chants and calls for exclusion in some of these rallies reminds me of the roadblocks Dr. King fought to tear down and not the dreams he envisioned for all of us to enjoy today.
Fortunately my generation grew up in the backdrop of that dream and was the beneficiary of major changes. Those changes were evident in the halls of my high school (Brooklyn Technical H.S during the 90’s) where the melting pot of students participated in the educational experience together. Despite the realities of racial injustices that existed in our society at the time, the confines of school promoted the environment Dr. King dreamt of. It would be unimaginable to believe race, color or creed could play a role in the learning process. But is it? Unfortunately it has come to my attention that incidents of racial aggression, discrimination and harassment have infiltrated a community lauded for its acceptance and excellence. Is any institution safe from repeating the problems of the past?
Well we can always depend on the blind justice of the judicial system can’t we? That would be the case if equal protection under the law was practiced and just didn’t sound good in theory. The expectation of “the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression transforming into an oasis of freedom and justice” just hasn’t come to fruition yet. We’ve been reminded ad nauseam that the law is applied fairly on a sporadic basis at best.
So as we think back to the dream, we should keep in mind the present state of reality and start to envision a new dream for the future.
Rest Easy Eric Curran a.k.a M.C Krispy E
Almost every year for the past 6 years and on the same day, I’ve posted the same pic of me in the hospital during my temporary and untimely demise in 2015. A few weeks after I was back to “normal”, I asked Eric “Why’d you take the pics?” And he said, “I knew you would want to write about it if you lived.” Eric was right. Eric was often right and Eric always had my best interest at heart. I am going to miss my friend.
You ever meet someone and become friends immediately?! Well this was not the case with Eric. Before he was my manager at Morgan Stanley, I would often see this 6’4″, giant white guy walk up to the only black woman at work, say something then walk away without any hint of human emotion. Naturally I thought he was a jerk until I asked her “Yo, is that dude bothering you?” She laughed and proceeded to tell me he was a great person, which I ultimately got to experience first hand. Little did I know this Italian from Staten Island was more Brooklyn than most Brooklynites.
Eric was not with the shits!! If there were ever someone who lived their life in direct, honest and no uncertain terms, that would be Eric. He would ask me questions at work like “Why are the other consultants making more money than you?” I knew the answer to that question and so did he. Eric then proceeded to increase my salary by 15K. After arguing with all our managers that “You need to hire Alfred!”, they eventually did 1 year prior to the 2015 incident. In the hospital, one of my friends asked me, “What if you didn’t have health insurance when this happened?” I would be in debt for the rest of my life is the obvious answer. I still am in debt for the rest of my life but at least, it is to those who made sure I had a more enjoyable life and for that, I will gladly repay.
My mom loved to tell me the story of how she met Eric. After they told her I was going to be in the ICU for some time, she told the doctor “Well I’m not going anywhere.” She then hears a voice from that back of the room that says “Well I’m not going anywhere either!” That was Eric and in true form, he was at that hospital every single day until I was discharged.
Eric passed away in December 2021 of stage 4 cancer. After feeling faint on his way to my bbq, he went to get checked out and was diagnosed. During the past 5 years, Eric lost his mom, twin brother and dad. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have felt like but I’m glad that pain he was feeling is no more.
From being my manager to my business partner, writer, book editor, artistic director, and most importantly, my friend, I am going to miss you MC Krispy E a.k.a “Enrique Pollazo!” And although you told me Enrique means Henry in Spanish and not Eric, it was too late!
Sidebar. The day I was discharged, while everyone was deciding what was best for me, no one had remembered that I would need clothes in order to leave the hospital. Eric shows up (unasked) with all the clothes I had on the day I coded, laundered and ready to go. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve friends like this but i need to keep doing it! Sidebar complete.
Rest in Peace Eric. “Be Good.”
Writing Your First Book / Should I Self Publish?
I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on writing your first book, presented by the Harlem chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Alongside Jim St. Germain, Author – A Stone of Hope: A Memoir and Dr. Keneshia Nicole Grant, Author – The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century. We opined on pain points, benefits and strategies regarding our inaugural voyages into authorship. Feel free to watch for your self and I hope this provides some insight to all those looking to make the same voyage. Enjoy!
What the NFT is a BEEPLE?
On March 11 this year, the digital artist Beeple sold a collage of digital images from his “Everydays” series for nearly 70 million dollars as an NFT, or non-fungible token. And if that sentence confuses you, you’re not alone.
A non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, video, and other forms of creative work. While the digital files themselves are infinitely reproducible, the NFTs representing them are tracked on their underlying blockchains and provide buyers with proof of ownership.” – Wikipedia
Still confused? Let the artist himself explain it, and learn how he went from NFT newbie to making the third most expensive artwork by a living artist in three months. Not to suggest Beeple is an overnight success. The “Everydays” series alone involved creating a piece of art every day since May 1, 2007 – and he hasn’t missed a day.
Check out some of Beeple’s amazing and controversial work below.