Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Apologies and Conversations

I apologize to the few frequent followers that this blog appeals to for my absence. I’d like to say that this absence was the result of some great event that required my time for tedious and delicate decision making, or maybe a cross country trip skipping from state to state meeting awesome strangers and smashing every 6 and above that stepped in front of me, or perhaps Sundance, the film festival that I’ve been saying that I was going to for years now that just ended. But no, my loving and loyal readers, to my dismay this is not the case. Instead, my absence is more so of slacker repute. The un-interruption, so to speak, of my everyday wheelings and dealings. Work, Women, and DVR!! Better known in classier circles as WWD, or WBD depending on how disrespectful I’m feeling. The “B” is probably better left unsaid. Regarding my absence, let me say that this is of no cause for concern! But, who am I to do so? Why trust me of all people, the untrustworthy narrator. Perhaps I should just put up or shut, practice what I preach, and stop being so damn inconsistent. And I will!
Amidst my days of bojangling and lollygagging were conversations. Conversations with people. People who held alternative beliefs about a variety of subject matters. You’d think I’d want to blog about said conversations, and I did, but managed to allow other B.S. to blogger-block me until now. So, now this unfulfilled release manifests itself into this, a hodgepodge of lingering thoughts that will quite possibly lead nowhere, but we’ll see.

Religion… I don’t consider myself to be a religious man, in fact, quite the opposite in that the rules that I adhere to, aside from those enforced by “the infamous pigs,” are of my own. I live a life that’s self-defined and completely based on what I truly feel is right and wrong. What’s to be taken into consideration and deliberated upon, which I have and do, is that I was raised in a very religious household. This may account for a pretense of Christian morals assumed by those I converse with. In some cases they may be right. I generally do believe that it is wrong to kill, steal, and other overwhelmingly obvious criminal acts that are specifically pointed out in the bible. But, not because of the bible, but rather because I wouldn’t want any of said criminal acts done to me. That defines the space in which I live. The basis to with which I call my code of ethics is taking the ever so reliable “treat people how you want to be treated” attitude towards all my actions and intentions.

I’d like it to be clear that I don’t have an issue with Religion. Almost everyone I love is held strong within it. So I slightly respect it. With that being said, the question with which most religious debates are sparked must be asked. Does God exist? That question is quite difficult for me to answer. If given the options of Yes and No, I’d prefer not to choose. Because I don’t know. I’m pretty positive no one does. I believe that people strongly (and I mean really STRONGLY) believe their respective sides, he does and doesn’t. I think we can all agree that-that’s not knowing though. I’ve been given the opportunity to ask this question to a variety of people. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), most responses to this question are similar. “Does God Exist?”… “Yes”… obviously followed with, “Well how do you know.” This is commonly followed with and evidenced by a “miraculous experience” that’s happened, or unexplained relief from difficult circumstances, you know, “There are things that happen in my life that let me KNOW that there is a God.” And please believe, I respect all of the above. But what’s most important about those reasons for a believer is that they are equally as disprovable as they are provable. In my opinion, these evidences come out of convenience. In my mind, it’s easy to label good things and positive outcomes as God’s work. So, something good happens… “Thank God.” But good things happen to everyone, right? I’m sure there aren’t any non-believers whom only experience horrible things or bad outcomes. That’s kind of how life is… you deal with the good and the bad. But maybe this is a weak argument. Who knows?

I understand the comfort folks feel with believing there is a Greater Being out there hovering over and watching us. Who loves us, and is there for assistance when we need help. It’s comforting not being alone in this world. It’s comforting believing that your “soul” lives forever in heaven after you die, as opposed to what may be true, that nothing happens and the lights just go out… forever. I understand all of that, and would love for it to be true. But I just don’t know. I don’t believe it’s not true but I don’t believe it is either. Agnosticism I suppose.

I have to admit, there is a void that I feel. This void, I’ve been told is because of my lack of relationship with God, but It may just be my hunger for higher success. But as a pseudo-resolution for the New Year, I’ve intended to seek out a more spiritual lifestyle. I’m not making any promises, but an effort will be made.

I’m hoping this is clear. What do you think?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ARTIST TO WATCH: Chantavia Brown


My name is Chantavia Brown. Art has always been a part of me, but in the last year, my talent in the realm of art, has exposed its true abilities. Art, poetry, and reading form much of my perspective on the joy’s of life. I began creating collages in college. I would sit for hours in my dorm room cutting articles and pictures out of magazines, placing them on my wall to express personal thoughts, imaginations, and life’s frustrations.

A coworker had rolls of newspapers he was going to throw away from the Newseum, but I asked for them, and the idea of placing the articles on a canvas blindsided me. Writing and creating these canvas’ vocalizes my perception of all that I see, and it allows me the time to really focus on what is most important in my life, which are love and truth. My faith in Christ has catapulted me into a freedom never experienced. Since truly dedicating my life to Him, He has enhanced my abilities in not just art, but my peace of mind. He has captivated my heart to share my experiences while planting seeds of truth.

My art will touch the hearts of a generation with so many avenues of wickedness, but few escape routes for righteousness. This generation starves for reformed love and affirmation, but we hotwire them with immediate gratifications. My art represents a desire to see there is more to life than ourselves. My art expresses the rising of a generation demanding more than old stories intertwined with traditions. I hope my gift reminds us of the biblical standards this country was established on, stained with the trickling of  blood, sweat, and tears from social warriors before us, whose voices have seemed to become whispers.


Aspects of Endurance

Sodom & Gomorrah


For Inquiries about Chantavia's work, please contact her via email at chantavia_b@yahoo.com or hit up her blog!  http://elementsofatonement.blogspot.com     

Monday, January 16, 2012

Apathy and Applejacks (Guest Blog by Cassanova Quixote)

I’m back again.  Shocking I know, but apparently MaDBlack is tolerant of my random and scatterbrain rants.  This time I struggled to come up with another blog topic, and though I am not vain in the slightest bit, I’ve decided to talk about myself again.  The question that I get most right now is:

"Cassanova now that you are back in the United States, what are you doing with your life?"

In one word. Nothing.

It’s true, I don’t do anything.  I’m homeless and jobless, but it’s not as easy as it seems.  In fact it’s quite hard.  I think Jerry Seinfield said it best when he said, “I am so busy doing nothing... that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.

So M-F from approximately 8:45ish to 6:15ish, I do nothing.  It’s hard to get an exact measurement of when the nothing that I do on the clock crosses over into the nothingness that I do after hours.  When the nothing is finished for the day, which is not really possible since it has to be something to even have an end, I do the same thing that most people do after work.  I socialize with friends, help slow the rate of the rapidly rising national debt by patronizing restaurants and bars, and go on prowl girls with low self-esteems.   

Most people struggle, toil, and work all of their lives so they can hope for the possibly of retiring one day, so they can do nothing.  I do nothing now.  I just cut thirty plus years of servitude out of my life.  I leave you to ponder on that.

As you can see I am slightly crazier than MaDBlack’s moniker might imply and I probably need a hug.  But unless you are the author of this blog (http://readingissexii.blogspot.com/) please don’t bother.
And before I go I would to give a shout out to two of my favorite documentaries right now. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Top 10 Albums of 2011

It can be difficult juggling being both a true film fanatic and music head. Ultimately, you have to sacrifice delving deep into one for another. This is a continuous see-saw in my life. At some points, you can catch me and I’m totally into movies, but at others, there’s nothing but music on my mind. Some consider it slightly obsessive compulsive wanting to see and hear every movie and album, respectively, but that’s just how it’s always been for me. Given that a goal like this is impossible and there’s no way for me to possibly thoroughly listen to and analyze every album that dropped this year, i give you the best of what I’ve heard. This year for me has been a bit hip-hop-heavy, so to speak. My top ten lists of years prior would reflect that. Unfortunately for you, I just started this blog, so those lists aren’t available for reference. I’m not calling this a best hip-hip album list though, because it’s not. Hip hop is just primarily what I’ve been into recently. Also, top 10 seem more appropriate than anything else, but I’d like to say that of the ten, the top 5 are of my hands-down-top-favorites of the year. Six through ten and my honorable mentions are arguably interchangeable depending upon the week you catch me. I guess I could have made this a top 15 but i thought 10 was more suitable, get it? If not, deal with it. I’ve also mentioned quite a few of the albums previously in music post on this blog. So for some, this may be a bit repetitive. For the others, feel free to check prior comments about some of these albums. Enjoy!

10. The Roots - Undun

I’d imagine that being a Roots fan is very similar to being one of those die-hard-super-geeks for Star Wars or Star Trek. It’s like, you know that what you support and follow (in my case listen to) is the bestest-mostest-underratedest shit out, yet people don’t treat it as such. The Roots are respected by everyone, loved and looked up to by artist, but forgotten within mainstream music. I’ll never really understand it. Black thought may be the greatest rapper never mentioned in a top 5 argument and the roots, as a collective, are arguably building one of the greatest bodies of works that hip hop will ever and has ever seen. Undun evidences this theory of mine. It’s definitely not flawless and also not their best work, in my opinion, yet Undun still manages to take you on a journey. It tells a story and is an album that is conceptually put together.  I highly recommend giving this a listen.

9. Ice Bird – The Abandoned Lullaby

The Abandoned Lullaby is the collaborative effort of RJD2 and Aaron Livingston. RJD2 provides the beats and Aaron laces them with his very-on-point vocals. Going in, I had no Idea what to expect from this album. As you can see, I was thoroughly surprised by this discovery.

8. Evidence – Cats & Dogs

Evidence definitely surprised me. Not that I didn’t consider him a good artist, because I do. I just didn’t expect to like this album as much as I do. An album not dressed up with a ton of features, evidence makes it known that he can hold his own with this opus.

7. Big K.R.I.T. – Return of 4Eva

Originally co-signed by 9th Wonder, often compared to Outkast, and leading the next wave of producer/emcees, comes Krit. Staying true to the soulfulness of the south, he’s created an album for a variety of purposes. It’s not just club music, riding slow music, or tales-of-where-I-come-from music. It’s all of the above. Krit has definitely done a great job displaying his versatility. I think this ship has sailed, he’s bound to be a household name any day now.

6. Danny Brown – XXX

It may take a generation like the newest to allow for an artist like Danny Brown to shine. Given his tight jeans alone, some old-head-hip-hop-people would write him off immediately. With a rap style as unique and alternative to what we “know” as a rapper, comes Danny Brown out of Detroit. He’s sick. His flow is amazingly different and content deep. Danny Brown may not be for everyone, but he’s definitely for the people who like dope shit. I’m a fan!

5. Phonte – Charity Starts at home

As one half of the group Little Brother, I always thought of Phonte as the stronger of the two. Much like Andre 3000 in Outkast, Phonte has always been my favorite member. I love Outkast and Little Brother as a group but selfishly always wished both Andre and Phonte would release solo efforts. Well, Phontigallo’s solo opus has arrived and it’s great. Lyrically, I think Phonte is making it clear that he can hold his own with anyone doing it now, and I believe him. From beginning to end I can let the album ride with no disappointments. This is a classic in my opinion.

4. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

I’ve never quite heard an album like this. It’s genius in many ways but also slept on. A ton of “alternative” magazines have been giving this album love and critical acclaim. The hip hop spots haven’t been showing the same amount of love for this work. I’m not really sure why. It’s unmistakably a rap album. It’s definitely unique, in a manner that allows me to love it that much more. Please listen to this album before what’s done on it is stolen by whomever, and made into the next biggest thing, and given none of the credit.

3. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

Following in the footsteps of other great Canadians like Celine Dion and Drizzy, comes The Weeknd. Accompanied by his great music and name that sounds like a young white punk band, The Weeknd is sure to become a monster on the billboard. House of Balloons, the second installment of his 3 mixtape release, is where I jumped on the bandwagon. With dark content and the voice of Michael Jackson, The Weeknd immediately pulled me in. I’m expecting major things from this young man.

2. The Black Keys – El Camino

Danger Mouse and The Black Keys join again. I will never be upset when these 2 collaborate. I was initially introduced to the Black key when they released Attack & Release in 2008. I literally bought their album solely on my attraction to the album cover. Yes, and that folks is when I first heard Danger Mouse and The Black Keys together. Since that point, I’ve definitely gotten much more familiar with their work and consider myself to be a huge fan.  You should to… get familiar.

1. Kendrick Lamar – Section 80

Kendrick Lamar is the best thing since whatever was the best thing before sliced bread. I listen to his music and say to myself, “he gets it.” One of the most passionate artist we’ll be seeing, it’s obvious that Kendrick’s track are made of blood, sweat, and tears. Section 80 is breath of fresh air, a hint of what’s to come, and a letter to the people that proclaims “this hip hop shit is alive.” He’s also a member of The Black hippy collective/group/crew, made up of him, SchoolBoy Q, Jay Rock, and Ab-Soul. Surprisingly enough, they all make exceptional music and musically speaking, I’d put that crew up against anyone.

Honorable Mentions
Little Dragon – Ritual Union
Drive (original motion Picture Soundtrack)
Stalley – Lincoln Way Nights
Schoolboy Q – Setbacks
2 Chainz – Codeine Cowboy
G-Side – the One…  Cohesive

Worst Films of 2011 (GUEST BLOG by Traffic)

******Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the owner of this blog. Enjoy.

1.Scream 4Wes Craven has officially displayed his loss of horror and substance. This by far is the worst sequel out of the bunch and I pray there will be no more.

2.Super 8Memo to J.J Abrams, you are and you will never be Steven Spielberg. Enough Said

3.Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon Another excuse to display incredible CGI, problem is they forgot that it had to make sense. Oh and then this has the audacity to be 154 minutes.

4.Your HighnessThis was close to Jack and Jill bad, but there literally isn't a funny scene in the movie and I like Danny McBride, but this is just pathetic.

5.The ThingRemake from the 80's that thinks CGI can make a difference.  Well it doesn't, in fact it makes this shit terrible.

6.Cowboys & Aliens - Listen to the title, enough said.

7.Big Mommas House: Like Father Like SonMartin Lawrence has probably had the biggest drop off in talent and films for a comedian and it's sad.  He's the Black Jim Carrey

8.Don't Be Afraid of the DarkLittle monsters that are the size of frogs threaten a family. Wow

9.Jack and JillWhoever continues to fund Adam Sandler films should be dropped off into space to the point of no return.

10.The Green LanternWorst Superhero film in recent years and Ghost rider came out two years ago.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Forwards and Frosted Flakes (GUEST BLOG by Cassanova Quixote)

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cassanova Quixote.  MaDBlacK asked me to be a guest blogger from time to time.  Though I am greatly honored, I feel as though there is an ulterior motive to this request.  MaDBlacK is a long time real life friend who has been trying to get me to go “Tron” and enter the digital age.  Well, for those who don’t know I am paranoid cynic whose favorite book in the 3rd grade was 1984.  For those who don’t know Big Brother is watching, and now he is watching me too.  But since I am now on the radar, I might as well act a donkey. 

I guess first I should explain my name for those who don’t get it.  It basically means that romance and everything that is related to it is dead.  In fact it has always been dead.  Romance is a myth.  I challenge anyone to make me believe that it isn’t.  I instead chose to believe in lust and laws of the wild.  The food chain that exists in the animal kingdom exists within the human race as well.
“… Everyone wants to eat but no one wants to be eaten.”  - Christopher Paolini

I think a more apt quote would be that… Everyone wants to f*** but no one wants to get f***ed.  But I think the inverse applies for getting dome.  Odd… I leave you to ponder this.

As you can see I am slightly angrier that MaDBlacK’s moniker might imply and I probably need a hug.  But unless you are the author of this blog ( http://inspire-thetribe.blogspot.com/ ) please don’t bother.

And before I go I would to give a shout out to two of my favorite websites right now. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top 10 Films Of 2011

I personally thought it was an amazing year for film. Much better than years prior where deciding my top 10 list was as easy as picking up a drunk and hot girl. That is, easy because of the lack of options of that standard. This year was difficult. So many high quality films have come out, or maybe it’s just my increasing love for film and consistent consumption of it. Either way, I’m thoroughly satisfied with this year’s outcome. Not only have we been introduced to great films this year but have also become aware of a few great first time directors. We saw great films by Joe Cornish (Attack the block), Evan Glodell (Bellflower), Dee Rees (Pariah), and David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American sleepover), and a few more. I look forward to the new projects from all of these directors and hope they continue on their successful paths. If you haven’t seen their work, please check it out!

It would seem that we also may be on the heels of a new black film movement. Reminiscent of the crime melodramas of the Blaxploitation era with Shaft and Super Fly, and the more recent 90’s, lead by Spike lee (Do the Right thing and Jungle Fever), John Singleton (Boyz in the Hood and Poetic Justice), and Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City and Panther), comes THE NOW. Ava DuVernay (I Will Follow), Dee Rees (Pariah), Qasim Basir (Mooz-lum), Alrick Brown (Kinyarwanda), Steve McQueen (Shame), Salim Akil (Jumping the broom), and a few more. This is something that especially makes me proud. This “movement,” also brings forth not being able to fit the black character in a box, as an ideal. As Toure’ would say, the post-black (his book: Who’s afraid of Post-Blackness) era. Where blacks are of a variety of character, morally, sexually, and rid of any other stereotype that’s been assumed upon our culture. All of these films do a great job clarifying that we’re all different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I wish the greatest success and longest careers to said directors and also to the directors, writers, and actors that I left out.

Disclaimer: I’m a regular person. I’m not a paid critic. So I wouldn’t say that there are any hidden agendas or secret politics behind the making of this list (also not saying critics do). Also to that point, I don’t get paid or asked by anyone to go see these films. I haven’t seen as many films as a professional critic and everything I do see comes out of my own pocket in some manner and is done in my limited free time. If I haven’t listed something you love, forgive me. I may have not seen it or it just may suck. Let’s begin.

10. Attack the Block

As mentioned in my introduction, Attack the Block is from first time writer/director Joe Cornish. The film is about a teen gang in London doing their best to defend their block from an alien invasion. Gathering comparisons to J.J. Abrams’s Super 8, it deals with children and aliens but much better in my opinion. Nostalgia isn’t the goal of ATB as in Super 8 which to me felt like an homage to the earlier work of Steven Spielberg. ATB is simple, gritty, and worth every penny used to see it.    

9. The Interrupters

From the documentarian of Hoop Dreams, Steve James, comes this GEM. This documentary follows the lives of three “Violence interrupters” in Chicago.  Like most documentaries, this allows you to be the fly on the wall. You witness some heartbreaking things, motivating things, and the people that live and work in this environment. One of the interrupters, Ameena Matthews, shines on the screen as she negotiable the streets, motivates the young people, and wears her heart on her sleeve trying to make a change. Steve James does a 
marvelous job conveying the fact that this is how it is and ultimately there may not be a way to fix it, but there are people who care and try. What are you doing?  

8. The Trip

One word precisely describes this film. Hilarious!! One of the few films this year that literally had me laughing out loud. You can YouTube the impressions of Michael Caine for of a taste of the hilarity that takes place in this film. I’d say that this definitely isn’t for everyone. Nothing really happens, it just follows two men on a trip, like the title insinuates. Tons of conversation (which I love), but am aware that everyone doesn’t have the patience for. See this, bring a diaper!

7. Another Earth

Drama and science and fiction. This is a film about a girl celebrating her acceptance to MIT and following that with the killing a family during a drunk driving accident. The movie picks up 4 years after the accident at which point the main character, played greatly by co-writer Brit Marling, is released from Jail. This movie was such a surprise, but very reflective of the vibrant indie scene currently existing.

6. Warrior

The tale of two brothers. For that fact, my opinion here may be a little biased, considering that I have a brother and we’re the only children. None the less, this movie is great. I was already a huge fan of Tom 
Hardy who is great in this film, but it was the performance of Nick Nolte (yes, I said Nick Nolte) who really just steals this for me. So moving, so emotional, so much more than a UFC fighting film.

5. Bridesmaids

Often called the woman’s version of The Hangover, which in my opinion doesn’t do it justice. Things we learned from this movie: Kristen Wig is a star… Women can do it too… Melissa McCarthy should be a household name. All in all, this movie is all kinds of funny.

4. Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen is back? He quite possibly could be with the amazing piece of work. This is any writer’s dream in screenplay form. I was so jealous while watching this movie. What I would give for this plot to be my life. The dialogue in this film is sharp, funny, and leaves you (or just me) yearning for more. I loved this!

3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Strangely, I feel connected to these anthropoid mammals and their struggle for freedom… something seems awkwardly familiar about the whole thing… or maybe not. This Movie is as close to perfect as it can get. Improperly promoted, I went into this expecting something less deep. Andy Circus is the MAN!! And Caesar says NO!! Do more than go see this, buy it.

2. Shame

Steve McQueen is an amazingly powerful director. He was able to make something that I love so much, which is sex, seem so damn unsexy. Filled with long takes of superb acting by Michael Fassbender, who deserves and Oscar nod for this performance, and content that’s dark and provocative. This is definitely not for everyone. It’s quite disturbing. I have it ranked this high primarily because it’s not often that a film can make me feel that way this one did. It lingered in my head for days, made me question a lot about myself, and required the viewing of something light (preferably Disney) after. Definitely go see this! If you can handle it…

1. Drive

Gosling + Winding Refn = Great. Then sprinkle in Albert Brooks at his best and Sick 80’s music and you get Incredible. There’s not much I need to say about this film, it’s quite the Masterpiece. See it now!

Honorable Mentions
Meek’s Cutoff
I Will Follow
Sarah’s Key
Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Movies I haven’t seen yet that I believe would have been contenders
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Take Shelter

GUEST BLOG by EZE (@EzeJezus)

Socrates said "All that I know is that I know nothing." Confucius said "True knowledge is knowing the extent of ones ignorance." but Erykah Badu said it best stating "The man that knows something, knows that he knows nothing." Atheists think they have it all figured out. The claimers of free thought... Well think of this. The Sun, Moon, Earth, and gravity some how came into existence. They all perform a unique function. They work together to form the layers of our atmosphere. Each level of the atmosphere has different molecules that combine, creating various gases that are used by all life. All things on this planet, from plants to humans, work together to sustain life. (The "Circle of Life" concept) Think of just some of the infinite symbiotic relationships on our planet alone, that if anyone of them were removed, life would end. From a universal standpoint, life ending wouldn't matter, yet there is so much detail in sustaining it. This may have all been random, but it is disingenuous to not at least concede that these co-dependant parallels suggest potential intelligent design.

Ironically, Atheism is an organized religion, so the same principle applies to the rest of them. There is no Priest, Pastor, Pope, or Prophet that can tell you what happens when you die. This is true because they themselves have never died. They have no more understanding about the universe than you or me. Organized religion is a business and the best part for them is they never have to deliver what is promised... Because you'll be dead... Spirituality and organized religion are not mutually exclusive. From my experience, people can get the difference between "believing" something, and "knowing" something confused. They become close-minded and often intolerant of other opinions. An understandable reaction from someone who has either never considered, or is afraid to consider that they may be wrong.
My advice, When you think you know something, rethink it. Question the answers. 


Monday, January 2, 2012

Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse!

James Dean, Tupac, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, B.I.G., Winehouse, Phoenix, Ledger, and the list goes on and on. They’re in the group of amazingly talented people who tragically died too soon. I’ve been recently saddened with the thought of another member of this category, Frankie Lymon. Perhaps this was brought on by me recent viewing of Why do Fools Fall in Love, a film about the three wives of Lymon fighting for his royalties. Not necessarily the biopic I’d like to see, but enough to get the wheels turning about this young man.
I’ll never know how it feels to possess the type of talent that Frankie had. A talent that makes you an international superstar at such a young age (Frankie was 13 when him and The Teenagers first came on the scene). The type of talent that justifies having “all eyes on me.” Not many people can relate to that. On all accounts, it seems Frankie was required to grow up to fast, similarly to most young folks in showbiz I’d assume. After 18 months of the Frankie Lymon & The teenager’s great success, Frankie was encouraged to leave the group and go solo. Totally understandable in my opinion, he was who the people loved and from all the clips I’ve seen, he’s solely responsible for pulling me in. By 15, Frankie was a solo artist, womanizer, and heroine user. It’s safe to say that the people surrounding him definitely didn’t have his best interest in mind. Below is a video of Frankie at 15. So mature, so talented, and charismatic to say the least. If you look close you’ll notice Frankie messes up on the second verse but pulls off a correction greatly and gets a little laugh in as well. Remarkable at such a young age. His voice was incredible and his mannerisms were not of his age group. This clip is upsettingly short, like all that you find of him on YouTube, which is undoubtedly reflective of his unknown life and short career.

I can almost understand the need for drugs when you’re such a great talent. Constantly dealing with the pressures of performing, the realities of wanting to be watched, touched, and looked at by everyone, and having an entire family depending on you has to be crazy. When that’s your reality I’m sure it’s quite easy to allow drugs to become your safe haven. I’m not justifying it, I’m just saying. My overbearing passion for Mr. Lymon is quite a bit abnormal for me and I’m not sure why it is as strong as it is to begin with. There’s just something about the aforementioned clip that truly allows me to see how talented he was (Maybe it’s just me). He was little Michael Jackson before little Michael Jackson. If given the opportunity I’m sure Frankie would have been as talented as a Sammy Davis Jr., Sinatra, or even Mike himself. Also, there’s so little information out there about Frankie, so my hunger for learning more is mouth watering at this point. I did manage to run across a heartbreaking clip of Frankie close to the peak of his heroin addiction and attempting to bring his career back. Considering the issues brought about by his lowering voice as he grew older, folks almost always made him lip sync his old hits instead of performing new songs, in which he, in my opinion, sounded like a young Sinatra. Either way, he could definitely still sing. In the following clips you’ll see a 22 year old Frankie Lymon, strung out, missing a tooth, and forced to lip synch to a song that he sang when he was 13. So Sad!


Frankie overdosed on heroine at the age of 26 in his grandmother’s bathroom. I hope to eventually learn more about his life. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get an Unsung episode (TV One) or a higher quality biopic focused on him and his life, not just the women around him. Who knows? What I do know is that Frankie Lymon was an incredibly talented young man, tragic figure In American music, and now definitely one of my Favorites.