Life Lessons From A Tribeca Homeless Man

 “When I first became homeless, I use to pray that I die for 6 months…that was back in ’87” Jerry,52, may be homeless but his mind isnt. I met Jerry in Tribeca. Our conversation is inspiring to say the least.  The street lights are on a timer. They come on and off every 2 minutes. Jerry’s face begins to appear at the :35 second mark. He shares his story, a new year’s resolution, tips if you become homelsss, this favorite Bible passage and strongly suggests that everyone “diversify their finances”.

Kobie Brown “From Fatherless To Fatherhood” (2012 Film)

 I along with millions of Americans have grown up “Fatherless”. And today 40% of American children live in a fatherless home raised by single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers. Kobie Brown’s 2012 film From Fatherless To Fatherhood explores the causes, effects and possible solutions to turning the corner on father absence. We met at Central Park for an unscripted, insightful conversation about the inspiration for the film, his family story and his goals. I love and support what Kobie is doing, solutions through dialogue.

“Before You leave this planet, it is important that you get in touch with what your purpose is and not be defined by what your job or career may be..but find out what it is you are suppose to do for the betterment of mankind and everything else will fall into place.” – Kobie during our Central Park conversation

Culture Critic Amy Linden on 28 yrs in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq & Obama

“Bitchin about what Brooklyn is now is like bitchin about what Hip-Hop use to be like..aint gonna happen..Paid In Full is not coming back out again.” Amy moved to Fort Greene 28 years ago from the Lower Eastside. We have been friends since  the 90’s when I lived in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill. After a stroll around my old neighborhood reminiscing about my Brooklyn days – my house parties, Brooklyn Moon Cafe,  Madiba, Franks, Mikes Diner, The Friendships  – I met up with Culture Critic-Substitute Teacher Amy Linden at the entrance of Fort Greene Park for an animated conversation on 28 years in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq, Charter Schools & Obama.


			

Extreme Hopscotch: “You got beat by an 8yr old!”

Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins..get your Extreme Hopscotch game up! Yesterday at a BBQ in Brooklyn, while filming the kids "hopschotchin", they challenged myself and my longtime friend Jon Cropper to try. He said "no way". I tossed him my camera and thought how hard could it be? Well, I got schooled by an 8year old and they filmed it. It happens. I am not going to let it get me down. LOL. But I will get my Extreme Hopscotch game up.

Harlem Teens Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (II)

(Part II) In Harlem last Friday, teens representing high Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot. Here is an additional edit of the teen’s speeches, rap and words from Iesha on “why we are here” prior to their demonstration https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teen-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system.

Tunisian Poet Samia Ouederni @ Nuyorican Poets Cafe

After sharing a poem on Facebook in response to the revolution that was happening in her home of Tunisia, Samia was asked to read for Miguel Algarin, the Founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Samia is the 1st Tunisian poet to be published in English; and, read at the Nuyorican, one of the most important venues for the development of poetry, music and theater in New York. In 1973, Algarin’s mission was to create a multicultural venue that both nurtures artists and exhibits a variety of artistic works to both enlighten and empower the underclass, it is a mission that has remained true to this day.

“If you have the baby here tonight, the baby will be named Nuyorican” Miguel said with a laugh to Samia before her reading. I filmed my taxi conversation with Samia enroute to the venue about Tunisia, NYC, language and poetry. Ra ,a seasoned Nuyorican organizer, explains how he discovered Samia and why he “wanted her to read for Miguel”. She read 5 poems that night. I shared the poem Samia read in Arabic titled ارادة الحياة ( English translation “Will To Live”) written in 1933 by Chebbi. Part of the poem is the Tunisian anthem and now chanted during the ongoing revolution in Tunisia and Egypt.  She is also featured @ The Poetry Foundation.

Maya Contreras: Drummer, Author & Editor-In-Chief of The Dirty Durty Diary

 Born in Denver, Maya grew up in a creative family. She has done everything in the arts from writing, performance to management. We had a refreshing conversation at NYC’s Gramercy Park Hotel about her novel “The Him Book: One Woman’s Almost Religious Search to Find the One” ,   NYC , Family, longer editorial, Jeffrey Wright and the story behind her bi-annual print magazine THE DDD – Dirty Durty Diary. As an Artist Manager, Maya has worked with distinguished stage and film composers including, Marvin Hamlisch who received an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe and Pulitzer Prize, as well as Bill Conti, an Oscar and three-time Emmy winner and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers and conductors.As a musician, Maya has worked with producer Dallas Austin, Professor Griff, composed the music for the Jomadi/Crossroads production of Six from the Rainbow, and was a student of Grammy Award winning drummer Woody Williams.

As a professional writer Maya has covered everything from New York Nightlife to the current climate of the music industry. Her interview credits include: Legendary MCs- KRS-ONE and Pharoahe Monch, Editor-in-Chief of Complex, Noah Callahan-Bever, Editor-in-Chief of the Austin Chronically and Founder of SXSW Louis Black, playwright and actor Paul Stoval-Oakley (Clear, Metamorphoses, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci), actor Amina Robinson (Precious, Mamma Mia), Award Winning Director and Producer Jeremy Simmons (Trans-Generation, Eyes of Tammy Faye, One Punk Under God, and The Last Beekeeper) and legendary New York Graffiti crew The Tats Cru.

Harlem Renaissance High School w Street Corner Resources (WBLS.Com)

 The Kid’s are alright! I shadowed Iesha of Street Corner Resources at Harlem Renaissance High School for their 1st annual Video Expo. The students created videos to enhance their college applications and presented their work to family, friends and colleges. The classrooms became exhibition spaces. Meet 4 students and the Principal that empowers them. Harlem Renaissance High School is part of a network of schools designed for teenagers who have been unsuccessful in other settings. These “transfer alternative” programs strive to get students interested enough in education to do what it takes to earn a high school diploma.
Street Corner Resources is a movement combatting youth violence through programs like “I Am Peace”. Together they instill love, support and education in Harlem youth. Street Corner Resources is a movement combatting youth violence through programs like “I Am Peace”.

A Claire Mike: Singer/Model on Volunteering, Art & Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

As a Singer/Songwriter, Aisha has worked with John Legend, Luther Vandross, Mos Def, Talib Kwali, Dead Prez, Carly Simon, Good Charlotte, and the Marley Family to name a few. However, I was drawn to the Volunteering she is doing at Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Corporation’s Center for Arts & Culture. I filmed her at the Eyewitness: Beautiful Black Brooklyn 1960’s-1980 exhibition. She shared her story, sang and I interviewed 1 of the photographers, Randolph “Randy” Waterman.

Yusef Sirius El: Footwear Designer on Fila, Carnegie Mellon, NYC & 10 yr Stages

 “I’ve been an artist since I was 2”. Yusef Sirius El (Joe Davis) is a a man of many talents. Painter, musician but he is known for his success as a footwear designer. Name the brand..Adidas, Nike, ENYCE, he has designed for them. Millions have worn his designs. Our conversation covers his start and technical training at FILA where he was director of basketball & cross-training..then off to Avirex in 1997 where he built his “1st footwear line from scratch”. He took the business from $200,000 to $40million. Yusef shares his passion for working with small brands/companies, politics, shoe design, sneaker freaks, NYC Boroughs, moorish roots, love for painting, his label as well as his focus on being a strategic thinker by mapping his life out in 10 year stages. “A Mental Revolutionary ……on the path …puttin’ in work.” Yusef

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