The city of Los Angeles is never without a shortage of functions to attend; however to find one that gives you great music, a cool ambience, and a decent sticker price can be hard to come by.

On Thursday night, The Little Temple gives us STEREOLOVE, hosted by DJ A-ski. A-ski, an LA native and a premier dee-jay spins only the best in soul, house, funk, hip-hop, and old school music. This week’s event will showcase guest DJ Rudy C of FTWK.

And the price? $5. Posse up and meet me there.

The Boondocks’ LaMilton Taeshawn Part II

I had to go back to the drawing board on this situation. My initial instinct was to have a WTF reaction – not at The Boondocks’ spoof of the Latarian Milton – but at the boy himself.  After all how many 7-year old children have the absolute nerve to steal grandma’s car and go on an under-age driving rampage AND not be publicly reprimanded by somebody? Not many.

But I realized that within my reaction came a criticism – about my people, this child, and ultimately myself as a parent. Too often I find Black folks blasted in the media for ignorant behavior, and instead of pointing another finger, I want to understand why THIS boy is getting so much face time. Is it because a 7-year old stealing a car is truly something out of this world? Or does Latarian represent something greater? Instead of using Latarian as an example of why and where we must improve as a people, let’s ask ourselves what is it about this boy that makes him commodifiable. After all, if he’s getting face time on TV, he’s getting paid. To dissect this, I must reorient how you view his video footage, so here goes.

First, here is the real news story that introduced us to Latarian Milton in April of 2008:

The first thing that struck me about this video is Latarian’s honesty. From this brief interview we learn there is an issue with mom, grandma is raising him, and there is no mention of Latarian’s father.  Keep all of these factors in mind and keep watching.

Two weeks later:

How did the news find out about this? Did Walmart call the police or is the media stalking Latarian Milton?

Here is another interview with Latarian in June of 2008. Notice his tone and body language, and really listen to what the cop says at the end:

By now Laterian is tired of explaining why he took grandma’s car. It’s such an obvious cry for attention that it doesn’t warrant repeating. Notice how the reporter plays up Latarian’s disregard for the people who he could have hurt that day and how that leads into the cops’  admission of  pressing charges to “get him into the system” because “obviously this is unusual behavior for a 7-year old” and little Latarian needs to be evaluated and treated. I’m wondering, what is Latarian’s fate if at 7 he already has a record and is being labeled as a danger to society?

Flash-forward to an interview done two months later:

Now, Latarian stays in the news, but this time it’s because he’s about to make his Hollywood debut. Are Judge Judy’s ratings that low these days? Notice how the reporter mentions the show’s producers encouraging grandma, Latarian, and the phantom mom to participate. How much of that encouragement do you think came with pictures of dead presidents on it? But again, what is the point of all this? Why? To help Latarian “get a new life, and move on” as he desires? I’m frustrated with grandma because she let those dollar signs speak to her – her smile says it all.

This year, Latarian was launched onto Comedy Central. (Couldn’t embed the link thanks to copyright, but PLEASE click on Comedy Central!)

I’m all in for a good laugh, but really what is the point of this 7-year old boy teaching this grown white man how to do hoodrat stuff? What does that even mean? And when Latarian really does grow up and tries to make a name for himself, will he be able to come out from under the “hoodrat” umbrella? Or do we already believe and accept that this child is not capable of being anything other than just that?

Thankfully Aaron McGruder and the Boondocks team saw something in Latarian, and more importantly in the media representation of Latarian, worth commenting on:

I can get behind what I believe McGruder’s intent is here. It’s pretty ludicrous to mislabel a child as a sociopath when the child is clearly begging for attention, but by doing so you write the child’s future for them. Through one really awful and childish mistake, Latarian spent his 15 minutes as the “hoodrat” representative. His real mistake – stealing the car – seems so small in comparison to him teaching Tosh.0 how to really be a hoodrat two years later. And as for grandma participating in that sketch? No disrespect to the elder, but she could take a lesson from Boondocks’ Grandpa and not spare the rod.

Target Shoppers: Support Black Business!

As I was walking through the toiletry aisles of my local Target, I had to do a double take: on the shelves sat one of my favorite hair products of all time – Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding.

I use to have to send off for Miss Jessie’s products from New York, and luckily I stocked up on my last trip there, but to have it in my local Target is too good to be a true – and a MAJOR business move for the sisters that created the product.

Labeled, “The Best Darn Curl Cream Period”, I can personally endorse this product for natural hair, especially for twists-outs and braid-outs. For naturally curly-haired folks, this product will enhance your natural curls to the fullest, while keeping your hair moisturized and smelling wonderful.

Find Miss Jessie’s products in your local Target stores today!

*Photo by Kesha Lambert


“Be a father if not why bother son, A boy can make ’em but a man can raise one.”

Wise words by a young rapper at the time, Ed OG (and Da Bulldogs). I wish more men actually listened to the lyrics, while they were boomin in their jeeps.

Today, in the United States, about 40% of babies are born to unmarried women.  Obviously some of those children have fathers in the picture; dedicated, loyal, devoted fathers for whom the lack of a marriage certificate makes no difference in their desire and ability to be enthusiastic parents. (Similarly, there are married fathers who are disinterested and uninvolved parents despite their married status).  But the truth of the matter is that kids need dads.  All the time, not just on Father’s Day.

I, for one, grew up without my father in the house (or in the state for that matter), and as I get older I sometimes wonder if having him around would have made a difference for the better. I love my dad, and have no ill will towards him, and I know he loves me, but we honestly have no real relationship. It’s kinda the “see ya when I see ya” that you may have with a certain friend.  It’s all love when we get together, but other than that he’s on the back burner of my thoughts. Barack Obama didn’t have his father and he is now our President. My best friend growing up had both his parents in the house, and he got into gangs and was in and out of prison. But there are some statistics to support having a “good” father figure around.

Having an active, committed, loving father makes growing up a lot easier: It means a child is less likely to drop out of school, less likely to be poor, less likely to spend time in jail, less likely to commit suicide, and less likely to be sexually active at a young age.  Kids who are close to their dads feel loved and cared for.  They have better self-esteem and a better sense of emotional (and physical) security.  Fathers provide guidance and discipline, are an important male role model, and another caring adult to share the responsibility of parenting.  Growing up with a father makes an enormous difference in the life of a child, and in the life of man.

So take the time to be a dad.  There’s a lot more to it than getting someone pregnant or buying diapers now and then.  And if you aren’t ready to be a dad, which is perfectly okay and understandable – then be a man and use a condom. BIG shout out to all the dads holding it down, and being around, and staying involved in your child’s present as well as future.

Happy Father’s Day.

-Mr.CEO (Dad)

Black Is… What I Say it Is.

Black is a part of my culture. I am multiracial; both my parents are mixed with black. Mom is black, white and hispanic. Dad is black and white. According to the “One-drop Rule” embedded in our psyche during times of slavery, I am black. These genetics make up my race, and my race is one aspect of my culture. The fact that I have family reunions, enjoy fried chicken and drive with my music bumpin’ has less to do with the color of my skin than it does my cultural experiences. My culture is also defined by my age, family, spirituality, geography, gender and economic status.

Certain people assume that if you are black then you look, think and behave like all other people that look like you. Due to a lack of education, people of all races begin to believe these stereotypes and perpetuate them. There’s an old saying that goes “if you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything.” People who are not grounded in culture are more likely to buy into the medias depiction of what Black Is.

Black Is a site dedicated to the black experience. We are all black and our perspectives are unique to our experiences. We are from different generations, religions, genders and family backgrounds yet we also have similarities. No sole entity can define what Black Is; you decide what black is to you. Sources like BET, Bossip and other national publications do nothing more than brainwash people into believing what black is to them. My hope is to replace the medias depiction of what Black Is by showcasing the black experience is so much more than poppin’ bottles and booty. Black Is a devoted wife and mother. Black Is a struggling college student. Black Is a loving father. Black Is an aspiring musician. Black Is what I say it is.


I love a good blog. I’m more likely to peruse the pages of blogs for news since, as art is concerned, primetime news is rarely giving face to the issues and people I care most about. And when I discover a blog that showcases something I love and brings critical convo to the table, I’m all in – and I pass it on.

Meet More about the brother behind the blog later; but for now consider this a resource for good underground artists interviews (especially for us LA kids), smart commentary on this music industry, and big love to good artistry in general.

Check out his most recent entries: interviews with Brook D’Leau and Miss Jack Davey of the bad-ass music duo J*Davey.

Black Is… Me

I recently finished college and I’m told this is where my life begins. I have the world at my fingertips and can do whatever I put my mind to… I agree with this cliché statement to a degree but as a young Black woman in America, I know better. My “life” began a long time ago– I would say at the age of three. I became a big sister and my mother became a single parent. I had to grow up very quickly. My younger brother became my responsibility when our mom wasn’t at home. I didn’t complain. I understood my new role, and took it on proudly. My story is typical of many African Americans who grew up in single parent homes. I didn’t have time to dream big because I had to act quickly. When our mother was not home, I had to make parental decisions for my brother and I. I wouldn’t put that type of responsibility on any child but I can say that I am a better person for my experiences. Things never came easy for us but our mother never let us see her worry. To say that my life begins now is to throw away all the valuable life lessons of my childhood  and adolescence. These lessons got me where I am today so I refuse to do that. These experiences have helped me to deal with very difficult situations easily. I’ve learned how to “turn those lemons into lemonade” as the popular saying goes. As a people, we have been doing this since we involuntarily set foot on this land.

My story is one of many that make up the Black experience. Each of us handles what life deals us differently. What binds us is our history and culture. Our history is often sugarcoated and hidden. Our culture is often duplicated and seldom acknowledged. We continue to challenge stereotypes and even fall victim to them—but I digress. Black Is, the magazine, is a celebration of our experiences. It is a representation of the complexities that make up our daily lives. My hope is to bring the good, the bad and the ugly while posing questions to make you think and offering correctives to encourage action. What it means to be Black in America pertains to the individual. Black Is overcoming adversity and doubt in the face of struggle. Black Is determination and pride. Black Is beautiful. Black Is me.

Do I Have to Go to College to Be Successful?

It’s a proven fact that a person with a college degree will earn a million dollars more than a person who has a high school diploma over a lifetime.  The higher a degree you have, statistically, the more you will earn.  But, does more money equate success?  What does success mean?  The official definition of success is “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors”.  A secondary definition states that success is “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like” (

So it seems that depending on what success means to you, determines how you measure your success.  So if you can be prosperous or attain wealth without going to college, then the answer to my question is No!  Can college help you to be successful, yes, but it is not the only way to be successful.  Take a look at these famous people who did not earn college degrees (please note that I am NOT promoting dropping out of high school):

Tom Anderson, co-founder of MySpace. A high school dropout.

Mary Kay Ash attended college but dropped out after she got married. She started Mary Kay Cosmetics after being passed over for a promotion that was given to a man who she’d trained. The company started as a book Mary Kay intended to help women and turned into a business plan. With the help of her son and $5,000, Mary Kay Cosmetics was created. Mary Kay Inc. was named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America and one of the 10 best companies for women.

Halle Berry is an Oscar-winning actress who never went to college. Instead, she moved to Chicago immediately after high school to become a model and actress. She ranked #66 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 in 2006 and reportedly made $16 million that year. Berry is also a spokeswoman for Revlon cosmetics and was able to command a higher advertising fee after winning an Academy Award.

Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., dropped out of college at 19. He first started his computer company in his college dorm room, later using company’s earnings and family loans to expand. In 2008, Forbes ranked Michael Dell #11 in its 400 Richest Americans. As of 2009, he has an estimated net worth of $12.3 billion.

Henry Ford never graduated high school, but went on to start one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies in the world, Ford Motor Company. He’s also credited as being the first auto manufacturer to use an assembly line, completely revolutionizing the way cars were produced. The assembly line allowed Ford sell cars at a lower price but the company kept making higher profit because sales volumes continually increased. Time called Ford one of the most influential people of the 20th century.

Bill Gates, a college dropout, has been named the richest person in the world by Forbes magazine 27 times. Bill Gates, who was 10 points away from a perfect score on the SAT, enrolled at Harvard College in 1973 only to take a leave of absence two years later to form a partnership with classmate Paul Allen. The partnership became known as Microsoft. In 2007, Bill Gates received an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University. In 2009, Forbes reports Gates’ net worth at $40 billion.

Rachel Ray hasn’t had any formal culinary training, including college, but has several cooking shows on the Food Network, a talk show on NBC, several New York Times bestselling cookbooks, and her own magazine. She got her start teaching cooking classes to customers at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in Albany, New York. The classes showed customers how to cook meals in 30 minutes or less. In 2008, ranked Rachel Ray #76 in Celebrity 100, reporting her earnings at $18 million a year.

Steven Spielberg, is a movie director and producer. Spielberg was denied acceptance to film school and dropped out of California State University in Long Beach. He co-founded DreamWorks, a major film studio that’s produced several of the highest grossing movie hits and Academy award winning films. Spielberg ranked #205 on Forbes 2009 list of world billionaires with a net worth of $3 billion. He was later granted an honorary degree by USC in 1994.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking site Facebook #785 in the World’s Billionaires ranks #321 on Forbes’ list of 400 richest Americans. Born in 1984, Mark had an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion in 2008 and is the youngest person ever to appear on one of Forbes’ billionaire lists. He developed Facebook one year on summer vacation after borrowing money from Paypal’s co-founder Peter Theil. In 2008, Microsoft paid $240 million for 1.6% share of Facebook, leading us to believe the site is worth $15 billion.

Warren Buffett actually never planned to go to college; out of high school, he was already earning a solid salary delivering newspapers. However, Buffett’s father pressed the issue and convinced Buffett to attend Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. Buffett was not satisifed with the quality of education at Wharton and transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he graduated in only three years, despite working full time.

And finally, the only famous black male who I could find that didn’t earn a degree, but is very “successful”…Sean Combs attended Howard University in Washington, DC where he majored in business. While at Howard, he became an intern at Uptown Records and eventually dropped out of Howard University in favor of a full time high-level position with the record label. Combs did not complete his education and still has not received his degree.

One common thread with these people is their drive and determination to make their dreams come true.  In addition to their drive and determination, they also had a plan.  They didn’t get to where they are today by sitting on the couch and playing video games, or sitting at home waiting for someone to call them to say, “You’ve won a million dollars!” They got out there, hustled, and did their thing to get to where they wanted to be in their industry.

Going to college definitely will open up doors for you, and it can make things easier, but it is not the only way to be successful.  You can even talk to recent college graduates who get their shiny degree, but end up working in an entry level job; probably doing tasks that they could have done right out of high school.  So the grad probably starts thinking, “Why did I go to college?”  Well, that basic entry-level job probably required a college degree!  And, if you’re smart, you take an entry-level job in the industry that you want to be in, so that you have opportunity to build your resume, do a little volunteer work on the side, and maybe after 18 months you start applying for other jobs in that company.  Your dream job/career is not going to be handed to you, unless you inherit it from your daddy; but really how likely is that to happen?  You gotta go out there and get it!  I believe the real truth behind success is self-confidence and belief in yourself that you can take over the world.

Be prosperous!