swaggerlowdown '08: deconstruction prototypes
i knew james evans sr. him name was develin booker sr. i called him uncle bruh. him chirrun called him dad. bruh was a hard workin man from lexington ms. with a limited education. him was dedicated to him god, manhood, wife, family, church then job. him had a belt. a thick brown belt with holes. him was not as quick to use it as him wife is with a shoe, broom or dust pan, but when him belt did come off, the commencement of a serious azz whippin was bout to take place
i know pedro santana. him name valentino rogelio paz garcia-sanchez. i christened him mijo. him daughter celita only knows him as papi. her got no idea him jail-well. or that him entered 26th n california a petty thief n remains there a man slaughter-er. her know not him cant write out the lyrics that pop off him tongue but can sketch the most beautiful mother marys onto the backs, six packs n biceps of him bandana brethren.
i met mr. charlie last week. him almost ran me over with him truck so now i call him mr. luckyhimdidntrunmeoverorelseiwuddagotupnbeathimazzfobeinmean. although my mr. charlie yelled at me fo crossin the street while textin, all i could pay attention to was him lassie-like dog barkin n him son cryin fo red. i heard him partner ax honey... what did you do with the kool-aid juice boxes. two days n a creative writin workshop later, me n mr. charlie sat down. talked bout barrack obama n our love fo collard greens. him admited that him never ever sat down n had a conversation with a blk man. him was honest enough to say i opened him eyes to alotta things just by smilin at him when him had shamefully contemplated runnin me down. all i said in return was yo... i'm mad brokeback mountain left out the part bout enis n jack havin a lassie-like dog n a son named ezekiel who has an infinity fo boxed red kool-aid.
where am i goin with this?
stereotypes, archetypes n/or prototypes instituted by media come from somewhere. they are tangible n based upon some actual human bein experiencin this crazy thing called the real world. the diabolical thing bout the situation is that in order to make a tv show work or the angle of a newspaper article be the vehicle in which folk will consume detergent, hamburgers, etc., these characters can only be one dimensional.
this is dangerous thing cause not only do most folk buy the detergent, they also purchase the stereotype n/or the dimension n place that dimension on any n eryone that fits the aesthetic of that character (or hologram). this issue of swaggerzine: deconstructin prototypes is all bout addin dimensions by imaginin the happenings tween the lines, commercials breaks n the happily-ever-after(s) proceedin the credit rolls.
when speakin to diamond sharp n krista franklin of girlspeak, who presented me with this idea of deconstructin females archetypes n the idea of deconstructin in order to re-think n/or re-define who we are as folk who buy things by buyin into the imaginations of talented n creative psycho geniuses, i began to re-think n construct a way to present this idea to the group of men who would assist in constructin this issue. i axed my myself would it be our task to support or rip down the years of this massive brainwashin.
i decided we should do neither. i decided the best thing to do would be to facilitate play or imaginin. as a creative writer, i play n imagine with language all the time. fo six sessions i showed the gents over at swaggerzine a way to process the re-thinkin n re-configuratin of 6 men or inspirations who may or may not influence any n erything we consume n/or view their female counterparts - thus ourselves n the women in our lives.
so hence my theory... prototypes exist.
yes... dr. heathcliff huxtable may be the first time america n i was introduced to an affluent black-african-american obstetrical gynecologist, but i argue that him n jj evans were both cultured n loved jazz n blues; extended the recipes found in ebony magazine to flaunt their world travels; n usually any n erything they said made people laugh (regardless if they are tryin to or not).
i challenge most critics who view jj evans as a bafoon to acknowledge the potential n intelligence of this genius who was able to see n paint the ghetto holistically - ned the wino as black jesus... revolutionary!
maybe i'm overly creative n possess some rare ability to imagine beyond what is presented. i wish my brain didnt work the way it do but i am not that conceited to believe that my brain is the only one that works the way it does.
i love to be romantic n think erybody brain works but fo some reason many folk dont wanna think bout presentations. i think folk would rather swallow what looks good to them n worry bout heartburn later.
i think folk wanna think all the thinkin has been done fo them prior to the time they eyes, ears n minds are exposed to a rico suave, heathcliff huxtable or james evans sr. i think most folk are content with believin that these holograms are truth n the only way in which a rich black-african-american men, pretty latino-lover-boy men or poor black-burdened men exist. i think its easier for folk to think not to think cause to think will upset ery folk...
american economy cant afford its consumers to think cause folk may find themsleves insulted n/or jerked outta emotions, time n mentality to find out that givin two cents bout who shot j.r. ewing was really a ploy to get them to buy foldgers as opposed to sanka coffee or the whopper as opposed to the big mac.
i think, i think way too much bout n fo these holograms. but i cant help it. i am an american man of color whose existence primarily is based upon the fact most folk negotiate which stereotype i am accordin to how i dress, laugh, cuss, pray n sometimes the way i do nothin at all.
i have spent the last 10 years of my life motivatin young men of color to express themselves with they language only to the avail of folk choosin to view them as other than thug-rappers in saggin pants.
i have befriended a chico n the man only to be told by a sandford n son that latinos are untrustworthy.
i have sung at the funerals of neno browns n michael evans n lionel jeffersons to come home n see the nightly news claim all they transitions to be gang related.
i cant begin to tell u how many times i've been snickered at or thought less man-nish cause i was rockin a frohawk n pants that fit.
i've been in many debates advocatin fo men from all hoods of life all due to ways in which folk have swallowed theses prototypes the media presents.
is it media fault? i will not use the words like fault or blame. i've learnt either words gets no one nowhere no time soon cause due these experiences attached to my existence i have entered this idea of media makin with a new perspective.
basically what i n all other folk are exposed to through media are business transactions. james evans sr. didnt die of a work related incident, him died due to creative differences that may have cost the show ratings - therefore money. i cry when florida drops the punch bowl n goes damn! damn! damn james!!!! in part cause esther rolle is a good performer but, i too dont like the feelin of abandonment.
n inside my real world i understand that uncle bruh could have very well died of with high cholesterol consumin the kfc that sponsored good times.
to blame or finger fault in kfc or fried chikcken to be would be to overlook uncle bruh lived happily n is at home with him maker. him was with-brain n to say its anything other than his free will would be to call him a robot. n i aint gonna dishonor uncle bruh by callin this man a robot.
so i say the way in which uncle bruh n many other folk - myself included - go by usin or not usin usin our brains to decipher what's hologram n/or what's real-life be personal.
through this media of swaggerzine i hope folk are encouraged to think bout the 6 men introduced to the masses through the script inside swaggerroots; the mornin photo essay in swaggerstyle; the safe around me psa in swaggerpurpose; n the works featured in swaggerstage.
aj, luis, jr. n sir charles along with taylor, jose, michael n the other men who have contributed to this issue all assisted in the re-imaginin of these men n sometimes - themselves. ourselves.
we imagined ourselves in situations n personas for the mornin photo essay photographed by k. deandré harris o'kelly. this edition of swaggerstyle is mo than men bein the pin-up dolls, its presentin men in a moment of solitude n nothin but the world to figure out fo if only a minute of a busily regular day. the read placed upon billy dee's (lamar jorden a.ka. the truth) chest hopefully will signal that readin is possible.
luis' collages places these prototypes in the midst of things him imagined these men consumed or bought into which triggers advertisement execs into utilizin these ideals of men to push product.
the swaggerroot is a screenplay that features the work of jr. (shadell jamison) n interviews from young men in the juvenile detention center who filled out worksheets n watched movies featurin holograms of the pedro santana prototype n compared it to the realities of their lives.
aj (anthony brown jr.) is the videographer who filmed the safe around me psa which is meant to encourage like minded indivuals to become way mo educated n active in maters concernin gender consciousness n public safety.
sir charles (gabriel tyler) sat down extensively n i discussed how the zine would look this time n decided that color needed to be added n since collage be the work of the hour we all played with the imaginings n mergings of people, concepts n product.
taylor worthy n other folk submitted to swaggerstage n we have a stage that includes more than written work but poems, visions n the official safe around me theme song.
i find the words to dale anthony mcdougall, radio personality from belize to be an extremely insightful perspective on the affect of these prototypes on an international level n the global parallels of man-hood, man-struggle, man-ship.
there be so many prototypes we could get into which only proves that if folk think a bit harder, folk would understand that people can be way more vast than we ever imagine men n women to be.
but yes prototypes exist...
n just as tangible as my imaginin of james evans sr. not diein but gettin him g.e.d., openin up a muffler shop that became a successful franchise n he n dr. huxtable golfed when him visited ny to visit him son michael, who partnered with clair huxtable in a law practice. i imagine they all lived as black african-amercian folk who be defined by they own-selves n not by the white producers whose main concerned was whether or not these folk are commercially viable.
i imagine rico sauve n jj evans as hosts of a call-in talk show that upsets feminists all across the world - even themselves at times. they speak on why its best for men to make money n women to spend it but also speak of frido kahlo as the woman who shouldve been the presidente of the world.
i imagine my mr. charlie will view n interact with this webzine with him dog, man n son n remember the blk man who expanded him thoughts bout blk men n mentored these men of color who represent many men who come as layeded n complex, but beautifully simplistic as him life.
there are no answers in this issue... only situations n i prefer it that way.
yo hit the facebook page up n til next time... get a lil swagger inside yo zine!