Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Case You Missed It - Hip Hop Caucus

Thank you to Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus for talking to Cocoa Mode about how his organization is working to get America's young people involved in the political process. For more information on how you can get involved, check out their website.
If you missed the interview you can hear the encore on XM 169 later tonight/tomorrow morning at 2:00am ET.n For those of you without XM, do yourself a favor and get it. Until then, you can download the show from the Cocoa Mode website on Monday afternoon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Case You Missed It - The Saartjie Project

Thank you and congratulations to Jessica Solomon and the cast and crew of The Saartjie Project. I hear the show was phenomenal. Unfortunately, the tickets sold out before I was able to grab a seat but I promise I will be front and center for the next DC show. If you missed the show or if you live outside of the DC metropolitan area, all is not lost. Jessica and her crew are prepared to take this show on the road. All you need to do is log on to the website to learn more about how you can bring The Saartjie Project to your town. In the meantime, click here to hear my interview with Jessica Solomon.

If you attended the show I would love to hear from you. What touched you most about the performance and how are you going to move forward now that you've been educated, inspired and called to action?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Master P. TV?

So, Master P. A.K.A. Percy Miller has announced that he will launch a new cable network targeting people of color. Better Black Television is being branded as a family-friendly network designed to "bring people of color a choice when turning on their television." Content will include health, animation, sitcoms, reality TV, movies, politics and sports.

Hmmm, not sure about this one. The eternal optimist in me wants to believe that Percy can pull this one off and people of color will finally have something besides music videos, 20 year old sitcoms and poorly executed black versions of MTV reality shows to watch. However, aside from that cute little show Romeo did for Nickelodeon, Master P has yet to prove he 1. Knows how to produce/program good television 2. Is relevant enough to capture the attention of young (and old - let's keep it real) Black people 3. Is really as family friendly as he wants us to believe. (I still remember when he got on Dancing with the Stars and embarrassed the hell outta black folks everywhere.) But who knows, stranger things have happened. So if you will excuse me I'm about to put in a call to see is Master P is hiring! In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yet Another Reason Why I'm Obama Fo' Life!

What does your favorite song say about you? I'm not sure and truth be told, it's a little too early in the morning for me to give it any serious thought. However, I will say this, any man who lists "Ready or Not" as his favorite song is all right by me. Let's just hope the right wing pundits spare us the Hip Hop Politician comparisons. We already know how that goes.

Voting McCain? Well, looks like your boy's gotta thing for 70's Euro-pop. Not very patriotic Johnny..not at all.

By the way, today's Joe Madison show is pre-recorded so that means no Cocoa Mode. If you can't wait until next week, feel free to download podcasts from previous shows here.

And now, with out further adieu,
The Obama 08' Campaign least in my mind
"Ready or Not"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sweet In My Bittersweet Weekend.

Wait a that who I think it is?

Yes ma'am , that's Kanye West and the picture was taken by yours truly at the Virgin Mobile Festival is Baltimore, Maryland last Sunday. The two day event which included huge names like Bob Dylan, Nine Inch Nails, Lil' Wayne, Iggy Pop and more drew thousands of people from all over the region and I was lucky enough to be there covering the event for my day job at Worldspace Satellite Radio. Kanye West's performance has to be the best stage show I've seen since the Jackson 5's Victory Tour back in 198-i was too young to remember. Visually, the show was incredible. I don't know if what we saw on Sunday was anything like his Glow In the Dark set but it was bright, bold and biiiig. Musically, the joint was tight. It's clear that he and his band put in countless hours getting the cues right and in those moments that appeared to be improvised, they were right there with him. The only other Hip Hop act I've seen with that type of precision is the Infamous Roots Crew and they've been together for years and years. But what really stood out was Kanye's message. Throughout his career Kanye has been accused of being arrogant, difficult and angry, all accusations that no doubt bother West. It seems every time he picks up the mic he's bashing his critics while pouring his heart out to fans. No question this has been a particularly rough year for Kanye having lost his mother in November, he said as much during a pretty impressive freestyle where he admitted he appreciated, but at the same time hated, all of the messages from fans regarding his mother, implying that they seemed disingenuous coming from people who had never met Kanye or his mother Donda. During Flashing Lights, Kanye also talked about the price of fame, you could hear the passion and anguish coming from the man who knows that no matter where he goes, no matter when, someone will always know his name. He will never be able to disappear into the crowd and live the life of an anonymous everyday joe. Normally I don't buy the whole "woe is me, I'm a famous kazillionaire and they just won't leave me alone" shtick. But coming from Kanye, it seemed real. He's a man who obviously loves what he does, worked hard for years before anyone recognized his talent and now has to deal with his own demons and insecurities in the public eye where we tend not give celebrities a pass for being human. Being in a business where success is measured by how many people know your name (and/or voice) I can understand how frustrating it can be when you just want to walk into a 7-11 sans makeup and dressed in your raggedy weekend sweats in peace, only to be recognized by someone who is still pissed off about something you said on the air weeks ago - and then calls you up on the air the next morning to dog you out for looking so busted at the 7-11. B-More can you hear me? But I digress. This is about Kanye who now officially goes down in my book as being one of my all time favorite entertainers. Kanyeezee, I got your back!! Stay Strong!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Bittersweet Weekend..

This weekend the world lost two of it's greatest entertainers. The hilarious Bernie Mac and the incredibly multi-talented Issac Hayes. Both men were masters of their fields. Bernie Mac, a former Chicago bus driver, took a small weekend comedy routine and turned it into a comedy gold. As one of the original Kings of Comedy he seemingly came out of nowhere to steal the show. At the time very few people knew the name Bernie Mac. His honest, down to earth, gut busting routine made people sit up and take notice. A year later Fox gave Bernie Mac his own show. The Bernie Mac Show was a huge success, and in my opinion one of the funniest shows on television at the time. By breaking the "forth wall" and talking directly into the camera viewers were given an invitation to look into the mind and life of a man who, despite the occasional threat of violence, cared deeply for his family. I also admire the respect he had for his craft, the consummate showman, Bernie Mac always brought his "A" game. There are so many examples of his work on the Internet - You Tube is full of funny Bernie Mac moments and there's no better way to remember the man than to enjoy him doing what he was put on earth to do....Make you laugh!

Last night while I was at the Virgin Mobile Festival (more on that later) I found out that Issac Hayes also passed away this weekend. To be honest, my knowledge of Issac Hayes only goes back as far as Shaft. I remember a few years ago, I was rummaging through some old records at my grandmothers place and found a unopened original vinyl copy of the Shaft soundtrack (among other goodies). I was too scared to open it, so I went on-line and downloaded the album. Now, I'm not a musician but I do appreciate good music, and what I heard through my earpods was just that, good music. Issac Hayes' career began in the early 1960's at the infamous Stax Records. While at Stax he wrote, produced and played on a string of hits that helped make Stax one of the most influential record labels of the era. He went on to enjoy critical success as a solo artist throughout the 60's and 70's. By the 1980's Issac Hayes began popping up on the big screen in films like Escape from New York and I'm Gonna Get You Sucka'. Most younger folk are most familiar with Issac Hayes' work as the soul singing cafeteria worker, Chef . In 2006 Issac Hayes was released from his contract with South Park over what some believe was his dis-satisfaction with the way they portrayed followers of Scientology. Before his death Issac Hayes was working on a film called Soul Men starring Samuel L. Jackson and guess who....Bernie Mac...Wow.

R.I.P. Bernie Mac & Issac Hayes.
I'll be back later to tell you about the sweet part of my bittersweet weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

Special thanks to Jamila White and Donna Maria Coles Johnson for coming on the show to discuss the FDA's Globalization Act and it's potential effects on independent cosmetic manufactures. The download will be available on the Cocoa Mode website soon. In the meantime, click on over to the Indie Business Blog to learn more about what Donna Maria and her organization are doing to protect small business owners. While you're on-line, check out J Blossom and Co., Jamila's fabulous line of products for little girls. Jamila was kind enough to extend a 10% discount to Cocoa Mode listeners, so don't forget to enter "xmradio" as the promotional code.

Next week we'll talk about the pros and cons of on-line dating. I'm looking for men and women who have tried on-line dating, it doesn't matter if you've found the one or not, I want to talk to you. My email address is Email me now to be a part of the Cocoa Mode movement.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cocoa Connect

Cross Colors anyone? Clutch Magazine examines how the Female MC uses fashion as well as music to express herself.

Last week Cocoa Mode asked if there's a place for Hip Hop in politics, this week Sterohyped asks if there's a place for sports in politics.

YMIB sits down with one of my favorites: The talented Ursula Rucker.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Love Rain Down On Me!

Welcome to Monday! I hope your weekend was full of fun or relaxation, whichever you needed most. I enjoyed a bit of both, but I'll admit it was hard to truly relax after spending Saturday night floating around on yet another musical high, thanks to the incomparable Jill Scott who performed along with Estelle, Chuck Brown and The Roots at the Summer Spirit Festival. Once again, I found myself at the Merriweather Post Pavilion only this time with lawn seats. (Apparently the pavilion sold out back in June.) But it was cool, we just grabbed a couple of (surprisingly comfortable) lawn chairs and set up shop at the top of the hill. To the left, the stage, straight ahead a video monitor and speakers. It was like being at a concert and drive in movie at once. Anyone who's been to a Jill Scott concert knows it's less about the stage show (Jill doesn't do a whole lotta dancing) and all about the music, and let me tell you...ya' girl represented! From the time she stepped foot on stage she had the audience in the palm of her hand. More than half of her set included songs from her latest album, though it sold well nationwide, it was clear that more than a few DC/MD fans had yet to pick it up. Upon noticing that folks weren't singing along as they normally do, she stopped the show and broke it down for the people, line by line,just so they could understand how serious this album is. Then she hit "A Long Walk" and that was all she wrote. Jill stepped back, smiled and just listened to the tens of thousands of people serenade her in unison. This was followed by what she called the "I'm trying to get you some" portion of the show which I'm sure she accomplished many times over. The Isley Brothers, Teena Marie and Prince, nuff said and I'll leave it at that. I must mention here that Washington DC was the first city to break Jill Scott. In fact, she sold more albums in the Washington Metro area than anywhere in the country. D.C. LOOOOOVES Jill Scoot, so when at the end of her 1st set she brought out the Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown to perform the Go-Go inspired hit "It's Love" she sealed the deal with young and old fans alike all of whom were dancing in the aisles, Oh how I wish I had pictures. Two encores later the show was over and we all walked away feeling breezy and free. Although I enjoyed the show, I must admit it wasn't as powerful as I remember her shows in the past but it did remind me of how much I enjoy being in the same space as the truly talented sisters of our time. Sisters like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and one that I have yet to see but God willing I will one day....