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Op Ed

The Trump Doctrine (or Storms Will Come, This We Know For Sure)

mrmarlonrice@gmail.com'

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So, here we are, eleven days after the inauguration of Donald Trump into the office of President of the United States. It was all good just two weeks ago. Just like that, Obamacare is being ripped apart, the pipeline is back under construction, and Melania is back at Trump Towers in NYC, never to set foot into the Nation’s Capital again. Every senior administrator at the State Department resigned. And the wall, the biggest most expensive and unnecessary project in the history of America, was signed and sealed. Trump says Mexico is paying for it. The Mexican president created the hashtag #fuckingwall. He ain’t paying for shit. El Chapo says walls don’t stop tunnels. The idiot Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump may add a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall, so you’ll be paying $9.50 for an avocado. A ban on Muslims created chaos in airports across America. Eleven days in and it’s already a mess. Damn, it was all good just two weeks ago.

While we watch the resumption of the arms race, the possibility of the National Guard conducting marshal law on the streets of South Side Chicago, and the Vice President taking part in a Pro-Life rally against abortion, you might be thinking to yourself WTF? FML! SMMFH!!

Right off the bat we’re seeing signs of the Trump doctrine; Isolationism, state influence on personal liberties, alternative facts, and an egregious desire to be the strongest, even if that power-trip unnerves the entire paradigm. He’s pushing to have us pay for a wall we don’t need, all the while ignoring the very basic need for clean water that Flint has been dealing with for years now. Yes, years. There are countries that have 200 mph super-trains and all kinds of neat technological creations that aide in the human experience; while this guy spends every moment he gets in front of a camera to complain because the media says hardly anyone came to his inauguration. It’s becoming clear, even to those that voted for him, that the only place this man is going to lead us is right off of the cliff. We should yell Geronimo when we finally take that leap. They always yell Geronimo on the cartoons, and this shit is definitely cartoonish.

But just as we begin to catch the previews of our ultimate demise, here comes BET with the 3-part New Edition movie. Every black woman between the ages of 35-50 stopped everything they were doing this week to watch the story of the most acclaimed kids group since The Jackson 5. The music, the era, the story, it all evokes memories of the past, when we were children and life was about having crushes, eating Chick-O-Sticks and playing outside until your mother screamed from the window for you to come upstairs. Our age of innocence, when Reganomics was destroying the middle class, crack was destroying the Black family and the pyrotechnics in the Pepsi commercial was destroying Michael Jackson’s Jheri curl. Adults tend to romanticize their childhood. We loved the beans and franks and the mayonnaise sandwiches, without considering the economic struggles involved when that is all a mother can afford to feed to her children. Those were the good ole days, right?

BET capitalized on the sweet nostalgia of our youth and easily recorded the best viewership its had in years. I swear I haven’t watched BET since Tigger hosted Rap City. Neither have you, I’m sure. Knowing that they had more eyes on them this week than they’ve had since GhostFace Killah told Tigger to wipe that smile off his face, BET decided to use the ample commercial space between 4 minute sections of movie to introduce viewers to their new lineup of shows. Let’s see, you have the show about the HBCU where chicks are getting assaulted and hospitalized, the white guy is still the Quarterback and hi-jinks ensues amidst a bad and bougee parade. Then there is the show where the Black woman cop decides to become a vigilante with laid edges, having shootouts in the street and then going home to make love to Method Man. Then there was some series called Media, which I still have no idea what that’s about, but I do know that it stars a bunch of cool Black folk. I watched those commercials over and over again throughout the three-night movie series thinking that if I was 15 years old I’d probably really like these new shows.

Sadly though, I’m no longer in that age of innocence where distractions and nonsense are masked as fun and entertaining. With all due respect, I don’t have the time or the desire to watch Black Entertainment Television at a time when the President is a man who seems to think that Black and entertainment are synonymous, judging by the Black men he chose to meet with in the days leading up to him taking that oath.

It’s becoming clear, even to those that voted for him, that the only place this man is going to lead us is right off of the cliff.

The ubiquitous Johnny Gill once said that storms may come. He followed that with the assertion that we know this, for sure. Well, the storm has arrived, and we are soon to drown in an administration that is sure to set black rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and human rights way back to a time when the only rights existed for the expressed consent of the White man. What we need from our Black television executives are leads and clues on how to stay dry, how to weather the storm, not more salacious programming to distract us from the fact that we are drowning. Shit ain’t sweet, pardon my French. The New Edition movie was fun to watch, but Black Entertainment Television will never truly service Black folk by trying to be White Entertainment Television. The moment they put out Black Information Television, I’m all in. Black Holistic Television, Black Spiritual Television, Black Revolutionary Television, Black Scientific Television. Holla at me when any of those networks drop. And, if you use any of my titles for your new network I’m coming for my money like Diddy visiting Steve Stoute’s office.

P.S. The absolutely worse place for a panhandler to setup is at the door to a bank’s ATM location. The ATM is spitting $10’s and $20’s out and you’re asking for change? C’mon people, I need you to think smarter. You want to get to that bag? Ride the R train from Bay Ridge 95th Street all the way to Forest Hills 71st Ave, going car to car for 8 hours a day. You’ll probably gross more than 40% of the people going to and from work. Now you’re not a pan handler, you’re an entrepreneur. Get to it now, though, before Trump makes panhandling a felonious hate crime, punishable by 15 years in prison.

Op Ed

Who’s Sleeping With Your Man?

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People who involve themselves in contracts without understanding the terms and conditions are bound to encounter issues down the line. Comprehending the obligations presented in a written or verbal doctrine is a basic (and primary) tenet of contract negotiations. You know exactly how many chicken nuggets are supposed to be in your value meal and you will graciously burn that Mc’Establishment to the ground should they misplace a single nug. Yet, we’ve all made the same mistakes when it comes to negotiating monogamous relationship contracts; No one ever addresses frequency!

Within the confines of a relationship, it is expected that you engage sexually with one, and only one, person. This stipulation is clear, concise and widely understood. No one discusses however, how much sex you would like to have with your partner. Funny how we speak of quality without batting an eyelash (“How was I?”) but no mention of quantity. What good is amazing sex if it occurs as frequently as Game of Throne’s episodes? If 7- 8 times a year is the net amount of sexual encounters with your mate, winter may be the only thing coming.


You wouldn’t accept a job that told you what you would be doing but did not specify frequency or pay rate. It’s also a recipe for disaster to expect an employee to show up whenever and wherever you requested. So how come we try to apply these unspoken rules to relationships and expect them to work?

If you knew your wife was only going to have sex once every 2 months, would you have married her? If you knew your husband wanted to have sex during every commercial break of every show, would you have married him? Some may say those levels of infrequency border ridiculous but given the amount of relationships that end as a result of infidelity in which infrequency plays a role, is it really a crazy notion to have the discussion to set and manage expectations?

What good is amazing sex if it occurs as frequently as Game of Throne’s episodes?

Feeling your partner up, er…I mean out, which is most often common practice during the courtship phase, seems like a logical method of determining sexual frequency/compatibility. Unfortunately, you are probably having sex every free second you can get your hands on each other in the initial stages so to assume your sexual rampage will continue at that rate is almost a recipe for disaster. There aren’t enough condoms at Walmart to sustain this pace and you may fracture her vertebrae attempting to do so. Blown backs aside, the best you can do is probably just have a conversation and hope both parties are honest with themselves and have at least assessed their own desires before attempting to make someone else responsible for fulling them.

When dating, we tend to ask for what I believe to be idiotic requisites. Let me guess; you want to be with someone that is smart, funny, attractive, caring, etc.. What the hell does that even mean? Was there ever a time in your life that you (or anyone) were in search of an ignorant, troll faced heathen of a person to form a happy union? The answer is undoubtedly “Hell to the No!” You want someone to fit these qualifications as you see fit. It is very important that you always keep that in mind. There isn’t a pool of candidates just sitting there that you can’t seem to obtain. You are looking for something that is very specific and that you conjured up in your imagination. Don’t get upset at an entire gender or the “Dating game” when you can’t find what you are looking for. Maybe we should start asking questions and looking for actual building blocks relevant to a healthy relationship and not canned ideals of what a worthy mate should be.

 Sidebar; This article was not written to justify infidelity. The intent of this is to open dialogue to avoid future transgressions, not rationalize them. Its amazing what one discovers when you revisit desires you believe have been addressed but were only assumed. Sidebar Complete.

Crazed Afrykan is a writer / hip hop producer (Nas / Damien Marely) and aficionado of hip hop culture. For over 30 years, he has gained personal introspective into the motivations, rhymes and reasons for one of the most revered genres in modern music. He is also a smug, smart ass with a perplexing penchant for alliterations. You’ve been warned.

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Op Ed

Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Frenemies Closer

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This past Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Carolina Panthers. Prior to the game, Eric Reid – the outspoken activist, friend and former teammate of Colin Kaepernick, and All-Pro safety – ran out to confront Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.

The camera caught the two getting in each others’ faces, with Reid seemingly the instigator (as a non-captain, he was not technically “supposed” to be on the field at this time). Jenkins has served as one of the most visible leader of the Players Coalition, a group of socially active NFL players formed in the wake of Kaepernick’s protest. Reid, once a visible member himself, left the group, citing differences in the approach – he believed the group should have pushed harder to include Kaepernick in meetings with the NFL and made his employment by the league the foremost part of their agenda. Ultimately, the NFL responded as all large wealthy institutions typically do – by thinly veiling a PR stunt as social engagement, and donating $90 million in “a local matching funds component to the social justice initiative”.

After the game, Reid cited this incident and called Jenkins a “sellout” and a “neo-colonialist”, in the process accusing him of co-opting the movement for his own charity. The beef and history between the two, which stems from the NFL league office’s hijacking described above, is nuanced and complex. But this confrontation left me with quite a simple, albeit surprising, feeling – sadness.

I respect both players tremendously, and I believe in a world where their differences in approach should be allowed to not only exist, but flourish. In oversimplified terms, Jenkins has been cast in the role of the pragmatic and cooperative activist, while Reid takes a hardline about the wrongs of the entrenched power structure. To some, the Players Coalition failed in not getting Kaepernick reinstated and distracting from the genuine reason he took a knee in the first place. But to others, the Players’ Coalition secured funding from the league comparable to the amount which the league donates in their largest charitable endeavors. These are the types of philosophical differences that we hope the players – and leaders of movements generally – would hash out privately and rally behind, with the proverbially “difficult conversations”.

I believe in a world where their differences in approach should be allowed to not only exist, but flourish.

In this instance, Reid and Jenkins seemed to each serve as strawmen for a frequent divide amongst those fighting for change; the reason being that this divide remains under-discussed. Typically, when we consider our philosophical divides, we do so only as those divides pertain to opposites, whether it be opposite sides of an issue, opposite views of a person, or the “end of civil discourse” (a nebulous proscription that mainstream media loves). Once we’ve identified these differences, the prevailing narrative holds, we must “reach across the aisle”, “try to understand each other”, or “expose ourselves to different viewpoints”. In today’s media, disagreement among “reasonable” people can’t happen because we’re all too hysterical to handle ourselves like thinking adults.

Forget all that. As it pertains to politics and culture, I really have no time for people who defend, directly or indirectly, putting migrant children in cages, sexual assault, or the legal erasure of trans people. After a certain point, it feels I really can’t convince you to care more about others. A more vital discussion would occur between me and those of us who generally agree, but disagree on how to tactically address what needs to change. A successful coalition is one that incorporates people who generally agree on the big picture, but as we are all individuals, naturally tactical differences will occur.

For while the media preoccupies itself with how “divided” we are in the big picture, they scarcely discuss how divided we are in the little picture.

Recent memory abounds with coalitions started on the premise of a shared general belief (or “worldview”), only to fracture due to strategic and/or tactical differences. Though it may be over-reported, the rancor between Bernie Sanders voters and Hillary Clinton voters felt very real; I’m going to guess if you had a strong predilection for either candidate over the other, you would even more strongly prefer that person be president than the one we got. This pattern seems to come up in almost every social movement in history; from labor struggles to racial justice. By the time these splits occur, it is almost always too late.

Eric Reid’s choice to call Jenkins a “sellout” was particularly fascinating. For while the NFL certainly acted cynically in co-opting the promise of the Players’ Coalition, are we supposed to believe that when Nike – another large, multinational corporation – released an ad with Kaepernick, they had suddenly been paid a visit by the altruism fairy? Powerful though these ads were, corporations don’t do things that are not in their best interests! And both Nike and the NFL reinforced this: Nike wouldn’t have made Kap the face of its campaign if they didn’t think he was marketable (Nike stock rose significantly in the wake of the ads), and the NFL wouldn’t donate to any charity if it didn’t garner good press.  At the time of the Nike ads, some called Kaepernick a sellout, as if partnering with ANY corporate brand tarnishes his reputation as a fighter for social justice, even as the advertisements brought greater awareness and spotlight to his desired goals (and greater financial means to devote to them).

In addition to the disagreement itself, I felt sadness at our tendency to even lump Jenkins and Reid together, as people who are fighting for social justice in the first place. We should all support justice for those murdered at the hands of the police and the civil rights of people of color, yet because they happen to have pointed this out in public, they are grouped together as “fighting for the same thing”. Again, nuance matters, and it remains possible that their individual versions of justice and the steps to take towards it may differ, even within the context of something we should all agree on. The range of discourse is so narrowly defined that we can’t even adequately spot the difference in people who generally want the same thing through different means, and people who are truly allied in the same fight. This flattens our discourse and makes us think everyone agrees, and thus we are simply unprepared for the inevitable moment when they don’t.

When does one become a sellout?

Clearly, the entire episode here provides more questions than answers: When does one become a sellout? When do the amoral motives of organizations looking to capitalize on a moment outweigh the benefits of their actions? At what point have those with whom we share a general goal turned their back on that goal enough to warrant aggression or excommunication? And most importantly:  if our struggles are overwhelmingly interconnected, how do we address them in a way that satisfies both of our goals and moves the needle? I don’t have answers to any of these, but I hope we navigate the difficult arrival of those questions with awareness and civility.

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Op Ed

KavaNAW

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The first season of #metoo is heading towards a climactic season finale entitled “KavaNAW.” With all the twists and turns involved in this latest episode, it’s sure to garner the vaunted ratings our Child in Chief adores.

We start things off with a Supreme Court judge nominee that went above and beyond to express the influence of women in his life during the beginning of his hearing – detailing how his mother was his role model, his wife his rock, and the joy he felt coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!

That was followed by a slew of questions from the Senate that revealed his impeccable memory and a sudden convenient case of amnesia that struck in the middle of the scene. Let’s just say KavaNAW’s acting performance in this segment will not garner him an Emmy nomination.

Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!

It appears that KavaNAW foreshadowed the dilemma to come by trying to head us off at the pass. His previous admiration of the women in his life has now been interrupted by allegations of fawning over a classmate in high school. The only problem is the type of fawning alleged seems more like attempted rape than expressing interest.

Now we’ve reached the pressuring of the alleged victim by the Republican senators to appear before them without any further investigation this part of the saga. Seems pretty fair if you want to expedite a vote for a supreme court justice for life ahead of midterm elections. I’m sure the Republicans aren’t afraid to hear from the American public in the polls.

If your head isn’t spinning yet, try this one on for size. A second woman has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against KavaNAW while I was writing this article! Let’s just say it’s going to be a very interesting SEASON FINALE!

Mypens Real is immersed in the digital world with the keen eye of sifting through the fat and pulling out the meat. Always keeping tabs on the latest pros & cons technology has to offer. Whether it's sports, politics or pure stupidity...he'll find what's what.

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