Speaking & Teaching

May. 23, 2019

HEY THERE IN THE CORNER
UNSHINED AND TARNISHED
BASKING IN MEDIOCRITY
HIDDEN FROM VIEW
YEAH YOU
WHAT'S THAT AURA REFLECTED IN YOUR HAIR
WHAT'S THAT GLEAM EMANATING FROM INSIDE YOU
YOU'VE TRIED TO HARD TO HIDE THAT BLACK MAGIC
EVEN LISTENED TO THE NEGATIVE FORCES
NOW THAT IN ITSELF IS SO DAMN TRAGIC
HEY YOU, YEAH YOU
NO LONGER HIDDEN FROM VIEW
YOU HAVE NOW BEGUN TO LOOK INSIDE
YOUR AURA'S THERE
THE GLEAM IS SO MUCH BRIGHTER
THE MAGIC OF BLACKNESS
HAS OVERTAKEN THE GLOOM OF DESPAIR
IT IS EVEN APPARENT BY THE CLOTHES YOU WEAR
YOUR STEPS ARE LIVELIER
YOUR VOICE IS NOW MORE PRONOUNCED
THE THOUGHTS YOU THINK NOW
ARE THE THOUGHTS YOU KEPT HIDDEN
YOU KNOW NOW THAT SELF-BELIEF IS THE TOOL
THAT PERSONALLY NEEDED SHARPENING
YOU'RE CUTTING THROUGH PROBLEMS LIKE KNIVES THROUGH SOFT BUTTER
NO ONE CAN STOP THOSE INNER FORCES THAT ENERGIZE
YOU WALK IN A ROOM AND EVERYONE IS IMMEDIATELY MESMERIZED
HEY YOU, YEAH YOU
YOU HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED
YOU'RE SHARP, SO SHARP
BLACK BRILLIANCE WITH NO CREASE

#joesmokeblackthoughts

May. 22, 2019

Today, I salute my daughter, Skyler Rose Hall, as she begins this first stage of true adulthood. Skyler will be graduating from Northern High School in the first week of June 2019. She has done some remarkable things during her four years in high school. She was a sometimes not willing student who found her scholastic excellence in her time. We, Robbin and I never attempted to force Skyler beyond what her limits were at any given time. We both as parents wanted Skyler Rose to find her excellence in her own time. We both knew that once Skyler identified her passions in school, in the classroom, and in her social environments the bars she set for herself would far surpass any self-imposed bars of achievements we established. So we both sweated this process out waiting for the moment that her brain clicked.

It started innocently enough. Skyler started going to the area gym during her 9th-grade year preparing to participate in cheerleading. Little did we know that her activation was not cheerleading. Although Skyler did, in fact, participate in cheerleading for all 4 years at Northern High School. Skyler Rose's passion became an avid gymnast who would develop a regiment of training 6 days a week for 120 minutes sets. Skyler also became an avid nutritional specialist who created her own diet that allowed her to be one of the fittest high school students in this country, I believe.

Along with this drive for athletic perfection came a desire to be more competitive in her classrooms. Not competing against other students but competing against herself. Just as in the gym she isn't competing against others in the gym. Skyler took that same level of dedication to a formula of personal growth from the gym to the classrooms. Robbin and I are entirely confident that our daughter will be a significant contributor to the Morgan State University community next fall. The entire family will be joining Skyler on her journey to Baltimore City in the fall because our journey in Calvert County, Maryland ends with Skyler's graduation. We're excited about what new adventures away Skyler as she proceeds to the next stage of her life. I only hope that she is able to instruct others on finding their life's passion as she is beginning to find her's.

May. 22, 2019

On May 22, nineteen years apart two intellectually creative black giants passed away, Claude McKay and Langston Hughes. Claude McKay, a Jamaican-born poet who was a product whose works were instrumental during the beginnings of the Harlem Renaissance. Claude McKay's works were significant during the time of the New Negro Movement. It was that movement that was defined by Alain Locke, Howard University intellectual icon, in the article he wrote for Survey Magazine, The New Negro. One of Claude McKay's most famous poetic works and also one of mine as well is:

If We Must Die
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O, kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men, we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

On May 22, 1948, Claude McKay at the age of 58, he passed away leaving behind a vast reservoir of writings that are still relevant today. It seems that our greatest epic writers lived during the days when Harlem was the spotlight of Black American genius. On May 22, 1967, James Mercer Langston Hughes passed away at the age of 65. It is said that our most prolific black writer of all-time was Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was also a representative of black genius during the Harlem Renaissance, he embodied almost every aspect of Locke's description of the New Negro. Both McKay and Hughes were social activists who fought vigorously against hatred directed by white supremacists during their lives. Langston Hughes was also very close to Zora Neale Hurston. They both traveled many a southern road capturing the black folk history that had been covered up more many years. Sometimes you wish for reincarnations of men like McKay and Hughes, men who could motivate many in our black communities to address and defeat the pressing issue of black illiteracy. It seemed that the farther away we get from the year 1865 when the chains of slavery were unleashed. More and more of our black communities don't seem to value the importance of being absolutely strategic readers, writers, and thinkers. This is one of Langston Hughes more powerful poems and one I really feel strongly about as well. Yes, it is as relevant today as the day Langston Hughes put his pen to a pad and created it.

Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

So please take the take to listen to the Blackman Who Reads Aloud as I read some of the works of McKay and Hughes. I have already read the collected works of Langston Hughes on the Blackman Read Aloud Hour. It is almost impossible to give due respect to these intellectual giants but I will try.

May. 21, 2019

"No wonder Magic was put on the managerial shelf this is what Johnson apparently offered the New Orleans Pelicans their entire young core of [Ball], Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Which was notably more than had been communicated with owner Jeannie Buss." This would have meant that including D'Angelo Russell who Johnson dumped in 2017 along with dumping Brook Lopez as well who came back in the trade for Russell. Ervin Johnson would have only had Anthony Davis and a soon to be 34-year old LeBron James to compete against the Golden State Warriors. Hell, if I would've been in Lakerville I would've been saying Johnson was out of his mind. What I don't understand is why did Dell Demps even put his cellphone down. I would've been packing Davis's luggage for him. Looking at that team now with the Number One NBA Draft Pick coming in June, Sheesh Louise, that Pelicans team could've been quite competitive quickly."
"

#theblackmanwhoreadsaloud
May. 21, 2019
"Some Republicans truly think the VAGINA is simply a SUPER SHERO WEAPON capable of warding off Bad Sperm, repelling acts of rapes, and also a military weapon of mass destruction geared to the elimination of the white race. Shot if I had any idea of the power of the vagina than I think I might have chosen a life of celibacy. I mean every act of aggressive sexual activity could have been the end of my life. If I didn't please or bow down to the mighty powerful SUPER VAGINA, I could've..."
 
Seven years ago I wrote the above blog post on Facebook about the fascination that certain white republican politicians had concerning the vagina. Of course, it got me expelled from this social media network for I think a week. At the time it seemed that these white men were fighting in some alternate Marvel Universe against a super powerful force called "Super Vagina". Super Vagina's force was more powerful than Captain Marvel and if "Super Vagina" couldn't be controlled our nation would be destroyed. It was to them a battle for the control of American society. If these white men lost this battle for the control and beatdown of the "Super Vagina" they would lose total control of all of societal virtues and morality.
 
At that time "Super Vagina" had advocates not only in the White House, Barack, and Michelle Obama as well as a majority vote in the Supreme Court. Well, since 2012 things have definitely changed and the white republican army has defined battlelines with almost every southern state except Florida along with a number of border states creating laws designed specifically to attack at the heart of "Super Vagina". Along with the strategy of state offensive, the White House no longer has advocates to protect the "Super Vagina" and the Supreme Court's majority once held to protect "Super Vagina" now has shifted to the opposition. Can "Super Vagina" be finally taken down. Can white men, hell all men with this line of thought now take absolute control of "Super Vagina". Are we now seeing the last days of defensive marginal line Roe v Wade?
 
The battle for the heart and soul protecting Super Vagina and every woman in this country seems to be waning. We have a significant number of white male intent on dominating and smashing their sworn enemy, "Super Vagina". The middle ground holds the key to "Super Vagina" retaining its position. Either they bow to the negative forces that are bent on the annihilation of "Super Vagina". Or they allow women all over this country to control what goes in and comes out of their personal vaginas.