Questlove: How Hip Hop Failed Black America

Questlove Hip Hop Failed Black America Questlove: How Hip Hop Failed Black America

When I first saw the title I was a little concerned that Questlove, whom I respect tremendously, went off on a Cornell West Spike Lee esque rant.  But, it thankfully was not such an article.  He made some really great points here and his tone wasn’t dictatorial but digestable for all.

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There are three famous quotes that haunt me and guide me though my days. The first is from John Bradford, the 16th-century English reformer. In prison for inciting a mob, Bradford saw a parade of prisoners on their way to being executed and said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” (Actually, he said “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford,” but the switch to the pronoun makes it work for the rest of us.) The second comes from Albert Einstein, who disparagingly referred to quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” And for the third, I go to Ice Cube, the chief lyricist of N.W.A., who delivered this manifesto in “Gangsta Gangsta” back in 1988: “Life ain’t nothing but bitches and money.

Those three ideas may seem distant from one another, but if you set them up and draw lines between them, that’s triangulation. Bradford’s idea, of course, is about providence, about luck and gratitude: You only have your life because you don’t have someone else’s. At the simplest level, I think about that often. I could be where others are, and by extension, they could be where I am. You don’t want to be insensible to that. You don’t want to be an ingrate. (By the by, Bradford’s quote has come to be used to celebrate good fortune — when people say it, they’re comforting themselves with the fact that things could be worse — but in fact, his own good fortune lasted only a few years before he was burned at the stake.)

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Remembering a Day with the Titan: Joel Silver

js 2 390x300 Remembering a Day with the Titan: Joel Silver

Joel Silver’s life as an A list Hollywood Producer has been well documented.  From being ostracized by just about every major studio, to his most recent fallout with Warner Brothers, the man behind The Matrix, Lethal Weapon, and Sherlock Holmes is… shall we say, not well loved.

The day I met him was one I’ll never forget.

I was interning with a post production company in Los Angeles, and one of the great perks was we got to essentially be a PA on the Warner Brothers Dub Stages.  Remembering a Day with the Titan: Joel Silver

Warner Brothers Dub Stage Burbank, CA

For those that don’t know, a dub stage, mixing stage, etc. is where all of the dialogue, sound fx, and music are mixed together to become a cohesive soundtrack.  It’s one of the most fascinating experiences anyone in this business can have, and is extremely rare for anyone outside of a union/guild to even set foot into one of these rooms while a film is in post.

I was fortunate to have been on stages like this before, so I knew [Read more...]



Everyone wants to be successful.  Whatever their own personal definition of success may be, they want it.  In order to obtain successful desires there are things you have to do and plans you have to make.  The plan must be clearly understood in order for everything to be accomplished because one incorrect move could throw off the entire project.

When cars are built and buildings constructed, they have very detailed plans down to the tiniest of screws that is needed to hold a piece together.  Just one screw can affect the entire project.  If you leave out part of the plan, the building may not last as long. It may still get built but it won’t be as sturdy and might become more susceptible to things which could damage it or bring it down.  A car may drive but not run as smoothly as it was originally intended and could cause more problems down the road if you don’t stick to the plan throughout the building process.

 So in today’s world, it is amazing to see how people have plans but don’t stick to each and every step.  People start out with a plan but let distractions or impatience take over and thus begin to take shortcuts instead of following the plans.  When you do this, there is no need to wonder why things don’t work out.  You didn’t stick to the plan.

Time is our biggest asset and all of our plans depend on us being wise with our time.  When Astronauts go to space, they have specific guidelines and plans that they have to adhere to in order for the mission to be fulfilled.  The clock is constantly ticking as each step is made and if a step takes too long to get done or if you move too fast with the plans, it could throw off other steps and thus affect the entire plan.

You can’t afford to take others in your car with you if they’re not going where you’re going.  It’s not part of the plan.

You can’t afford to hang out with everyone and do what everybody does because it’s not part of the plan.

You can’t afford to move too fast.

You can’t afford to move too slow.

You can’t afford to waste time.  It’s not part of the plan nor is it part of any plan ever.

You may lose people as you travel along your way but if that is the case, there is no need to worry because they weren’t a part of the plan to begin with.