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James Edwards Short Documentary

Financial Independence in 2015; Personal Wealth Management Steps/ Business 101/ Repairing and Building Your Credit

As most recent college graduates or anyone that is trying to repair their financial situation knows, it isn't easy. If anything its a bit frustrating since it's 2015 but yet Wall Street and big corporations continue to get bailouts and tax cuts, meanwhile us honest hardworking middle and working class citizens only get higher interest rates on credit cards and loans. Even with a solid paying full time job, it still almost feels impossible to move ahead. Now by no means am I any kind of financial expert or guru, but instead, I am a regular American that is working hard to attain the American Dream. Having financial independence is clearly the goal, but how do we get there? Especially as a young black man, we are essentially born into debt, so how do we get ahead when we started from behind?

Now there isn't a correct path or set of steps that you MUST take. Its different for each and everyone of us. But it is important to take a next step. Personally, one of the most important steps I could take, was a step back. After completing two years of college, I left to further my love for video production. I was incredibly naive to just think that I could easily start a production company. Whether I tried to work independently or with a few others, it ultimately "failed," at least based on the expectations that I had. But without getting too much into the details, I knew I had to return to college to get my degree. For me, this was clearly the most important thing that I could do to help with attaining financial independence. I felt that having a degree would open up more opportunities, allowing me to make more money... because after all, you can't improve your personal finances if you spend more money than you earn. So although I would be getting more bills and debt for the time being, in the long run, it'll be a good investment that will amount to more money.

As a full time student who also competed on the college club rugby team in the fall and the Men's Track and Field team during the winter and spring, my schedule was already pretty tight. So finding a means of income was important, but tough since it had to fit into my schedule with classes, studying/ homework and sports. I was lucky to find work on campus. I was a stair sweeper in the mornings in two buildings, and did video production work for the schools media department. Along with this, I had the occasional freelance video gig as well as the occasional check from this blog and youtube videos. So although more money was being spent towards my education, I did have a little money coming in too.

Eventually I made it through my final two years of college and graduated, of course with a nice chunk of debt too. Now as I continue to move forward towards this financial independence, I'm seeing how incredibly important it is for me to stay on top of my game. So here are a few steps that I have taken to ensure I reach my goal:

Some Important Steps to Take to Help You Towards Financial Independence:

  • Evaluate your financial situation. Literally add up all of your bills and debt; college loans, credit cards, utilities, car expenses, rent and everything in between. Create a list of monthly expenses and one with general debt that you have already been hit with. Whether you want to find some sort of app to download such as MINT or create a spreadsheet, you definitely want a list with all of your monthly expenses and debt. By doing this you will be able to actually see where you stand regarding your overall financial position, as well as a potential forecast of what you can expect to pay over the next year. And if you want, feel free to take the next step and jot down your monthly income to determine what is left after your bills. Don't run out on a shopping spree with the remaining money (if any), but instead put it save it.
  • Open a savings account. If possible, it is highly recommended that you put at least 10% of your income into a savings account. This is incredibly hard for me, especially since my bills almost add up to my total income, what little money left over can easily be spent at the bar, clothes or something else. But between a rainy day when you'll need extra money, or for a small trip that you might have in mind for next spring, this savings account will be clutch when you need it most... so try not getting your hand caught in the cookie jar. Even having two separate accounts could be a good idea. One account for rainy days since you never know what unexpected bill will surprise you, and the other account for splurging (which isn't recommended but I get it, we only have one life to live - so have fun, but in a responsible manner while planning ahead).
  • Open a secure credit card. This will allow you to repair/ build your credit. Personally, I first messed up my credit early on when I was 18. My mother needed help with her car, she needed new tires, and of course I wasn't going to say she couldn't use my credit card. At that time I was just about to stop working at my summer job and head up to college as a freshman. My part time campus job paid peanuts and basically, I fell behind on payments and the rest is history. So a secured credit card is ideal for anyone who is trying to repair their credit. I still have two secured credit cards that I have paid on time from day one, and as a result, I have seen an improvement with my credit score. So if you don't have any credit or your credit is bad and you are looking to rebuild it, definitely consider a secure credit card.
    *And note, don't get fooled by the pre-paid credit cards like NetSpend or the RushCard, they don't help with repairing your credit. The only similarity is that you start off by loading the card with money and they both seem to work like a normal credit card where you can use them anywhere with a MasterCard or Visa logo. They aren't horrible, I actually still have a Netspend card, but clearly I don't use it as much as I used to now that I know about secured credit cards.
  • Pay bills on time. The only way you can get to financial independence is by paying all of your outstanding and current bills on time. I had a bunch of small bills that I owed, maybe a phone bill here, or a overdraft fee from a previous bank account... whatever it may be, you need to make some sort of arrangement to work towards paying it off. Some bills were paid in full at once. Other bills were paid on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. And don't ignore the bill collectors when they call, send a letter or email you. Talk to them. They are dealing with hundreds and thousands of other Americans who are also struggling to get by, so they should understand where you are coming from. They just want to see that you making an effort to actually pay off the debt.

Again, these are some generic steps that you should consider. Often times the most obvious things are over-looked, so just take a step back and re-evaluate your financial position. For now, we'll leave it here. Maybe in another 3-6 months I'll create a list with some additional steps, but first let's see how well things go for me as I continue to implement the steps mentioned above.

And on that note, always keep your goals in mind and never give up... no matter what. Even if you get hit knocked down, unless that hit kills you, you should still be fighting with the last ounce of your heart. I know there were times where I wanted to give up, and luckily I didn't. Keep the faith and keep it moving, because we will get there~

Prince Ea "BACKWARDS RAPPERS" Official Music Video

WHOA! My words can't even begin to speak on the complexity of this record. In "Backwards Rappers" Prince Ea does what Nas does on "Rewind" but even better! He literally wrote a 16 that is split in half and can be rapped both forward and backwards. And not only does it make sense, but the meaning is completely flipped. He goes from being a generic commercial rapper who only spits about popping bottles and getting money to rapping about knowledge and education being the solution. If you appreciate good music, just press play. Thank me later~

Kalyn Ponga, Amazing 16 Year OId Rugby Player Highlight Video

So its not everyday that I am really impressed with other rugby players. Even with this video my thought was, 'I wish I could film myself since I'm a professional videographer', I would get nice close up shots like many of the clips from this video. But even if I had the same type of filming, I still don't know if I would look nearly as impressive as Kalyn Ponga, a 16 year old Australian rugby player who just signed to the North Queensland Cowboys in the National Rugby League after playing First XV fullback at Churchie.

Although I have footage of me dancing around opponents, making some great assists and even some nice tackles, which we do not see here, Ponga on the other hand has some sick ball handling skills. My control isn't nearly this good. The other difference is his cutting ability. His elusiveness is crazy. Like I said, I can run, juking other opponents isn't an issue for me, but to do it like this... wow! In 2012, Ponga became the second under-14 player to be chosen for Australia's under-15 league team. He clearly dominated while he attended Churchie.

Now with him signing to the North Queensland Cowboys earlier in the year, we will get to see what he can do in the NRL where he will be facing better opponents who are faster and stronger... because I think I have him on the physicality of his game. I love to hit, whether I have the ball or if I am on defense, and if I made a personal highlight reel there would definitely be some sick plays from both offense AND defense. But whatever, if I could move like this I'd take it! Enjoy this highlight reel of a rugby prodigy! Can't wait to see how he does at the next level~

Follow on Twitter @TheReelAce

Dutch ReBelle featuring Fred the Godson "Stop It" Official Music Video/ 'ReBelle Diaries' Mixtape

Some new heat from Boston's own Dutch ReBelle,"Stop It" is for y'all haters out there. Produced by Haywire MusiQ, y'all need to just take it for what it is, she's doing her thing... so just stop it! And with the help of Fred the Godson, its clear women aren't the only people out here hating. This record is off of her new album 'ReBelle Diaries' which just dropped a week ago. I haven't had time to listen to the whole thing but I have heard "Yen" ft. Millyz and "Some Thangs", and as you'd expect if your familiar with Dutch, they're also tight tracks. So for now check out this video which has visuals from Gil Videos, and then the rest of the album here~

Bilal "Fast Lane" Produced by Dr. Dre Official Record / Throwback Post

One of those classics that I love turning people onto, Bilal dropped the single "Fast Lane" over 10 years ago back in 2001 off of his debut album '1st born second'. Bilal has such a soulful voice that is so destinctive, I think he was perfect for this record. But it still amazes me that this track didn't get more attention, even with Dr. Dre on the production. But the vocals, production and even the message, are all on point. This is good RnB my friends~

Flying Lotus "Do The Astral Plane" Official Record

Flying Lotus' record "Do The Astral Plane" was released back in 2010 well over a year before I started this blog but after posting his new record "Never Catch Me" featuring Kendrick Lamar, I knew I had to get some more of his music up here. This is such a sick track that has a funky electronic west-coast vibe to it that will definitely put you in the zone. Honestly, there aren't many producers out there like FlyLo... I don't even want to ruin this track by trying to speak about it, so sit back, relax and get enlightened~

Vince Carter is the Best Dunker EVER/ Throwback Post

Vince Carter is easily one of the BEST dunkers in Basketball... whether your talking during a contest or in-game dunks, Carter has always been among the best. Now some might argue LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Gerald Green or legends like Michael Jordan, Shawn Kemp, Dominique Wilkins or even Julius "Dr. J" Erving are better than Carter, to them I say... good try, but there isn't an NBA player who has a DUNK portfolio as impressive as Carters. Now Dr. J may have actually been a better dunker but being that he played in the ABA prior to entering the NBA, we don't necessarily have access to all of his games, which I'm sure would be one of the best. MJ/ LJ are probably the best over-all players ever, earning tons of brownie points for their dunking skills, but neither of them have that extra kick that Carter has when it comes to straight up banging it.

Others will probably argue that Nate Robinson is the best since he won the Slam Dunk Contest three times. 4 players have won it twice, and then there's VC and 16 others who have only won it once. Isiah Rider and Jason Richardson will clearly be thrown into the mix, along with many others, so by no means am I saying Vince Carter is undoubtedly the best... I'm just saying I would select him as my ultimate favorite. And this is coming from somebody who still have my old Shawn Kemp and Dominique Wilkins basketball cards. So with all of that in mind, you need to at least agree he is among the top 20 All-Time best dunkers in the history of the NBA. Now in all honesty, considering the lack of material on other greats who weren't in the NBA such as Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell, The GOAT, The Professor or Hot Sauce, I can definitely exclude other great dunkers from being worthy of the crown.

I found this video featuring 100 of Vince Carters best dunks and its crazy. Whether your talking about his 2000 Dunk Contest performance or when he literally dunked over a 7ft tall Fredrick Weis in the Olympics, VC is the best to ever do it. Now I'm not necessarily saying he has THE BEST DUNK EVER, that might be a little more of a debate... but even in that discussion, he will clearly be mentioned. If you have time, watch the whole video its only ten minutes. But if not, skip to the seven minute mark and watch the last three minutes. It features 100 of his best dunks throughout his high school, college and professional career. Whether your a new-school rookie or an old-school veteran looking for your dunk-fixture, you've come to the right place. Enjoy~

Mos Def "Travellin Man" Official Record/ Throwback Post

Such a dope record, Mos Def spitting about keeping it moving. It's one of those life-reflection tracks that reminds me of all the people who have come and gone throughout my life. Whether it was a classmate from elementary school, a co-worker, an ex-girlfriend or mentor, it's kind of strange to think about the paths we take in life. But that is what it is all about, moving through time and space. Enjoy~

Masta Ace "Beautiful" Official Music Video/ Throwback Post

Easily one of my favorite Masta Ace records"Beautiful" came out a year after graduating from high school and I was off on a new journey, life was beautiful. Its mind boggling to me that the Youtube view count is less than 1,000,000 hits. This is one of those rap/ hip hop records that many so-called "rap fans" haven't even heard... and its a classic! The hook is dope and his rhymes are on point while he still paints a beautiful picture. And even if you've heard it before, just press play and take it in... life is beautiful~

Ace said, "(I'm wishing on a, on a, on...) the most beautifullest thing ever
And it's here to bring terror to the bling era (yeah)
You can feel it in your inner
It's like Grandma's house, Thanksgiving dinner"

Ben Howard "End of the Affair" Official Record/ 'I Forgot Where We Were'

So I'm actually somewhat on top of my game with staying up to date with Ben Howard this time around. Last month he released "End of the Affair" a single off his new album "I Forgot Where We Were" which is actually coming out on my birthday, October 20th. This record is refreshingly natural and authentic. Between the lyrics (at least from what I can make out) and the instruments, this song is beautiful while still kind of sad. It's one of those love-hate situations, I hate it because I've known the feeling which sucks, but I love it because it is such a great piece of music~

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar "Never Catch Me" Official Record/ 'You're Dead!' Album

Wow, Flying Lotus featuring Kendrick Lamar is a combination that I never expected or really even thought of for that matter, but one that is most definitely overdue."Never Catch Me" is off of Flying Lotus' new album 'You're Dead!' and it will certainly help FlyLo get some well deserved attention since he's been doing his thing for awhile now. He's well known within the underground rap/ experimental scene but hasn't really made it on a mainstream level. I'm not surprised since the commercial rap and hip hop sound is the complete opposite of what you would ever expect to hear from him. So throwing Kendrick Lamar into the mix is a big move. And on that note, enjoy~

Jagged Edge "Ready" Official Record/ JE Heartbreak 2 Album

One of my favorite RnB groups from back in the day, Jagged Edge is back with their usual smooth sounds. This time they have something a bit more mature, speaking about the time being right and how they're ready to make that commitment and settle down. I'm definitely getting up their with my age, and seeing many of my high school and middle school friends starting to get married, at times, has me thinking that I'm ready to be in love~

MC Lyte ft Common "Dear John" Official Record/ #EducateOURMen

Damn after at least 10 years since I've heard any music from MC Lyte, she drops some new heat just as it's starting to get colder up here in the North East. As always, she's spitting some knowledge that needs to be heard by many of y'all brothas out here. And with the help of Common and 10Beats, y'all can relate to the message; Take Care of Yours! And I'm feeling how they used the hook which poses one of Puffy Daddy's signature lines into a question~

"Dear John" is the anthem for #EducateOURMen, which is the signature scholarship initiative of MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which has presented two $100,000 university scholarships during the Soul Train Music Awards Red Carpet Pre-Show each year since the organization's founding. This year, the foundation will present dozens of scholarships earmarked to send men of color to HBCU's. Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jada Pinkett Smith and Faith Evans are just of the few celebrities who support the foundation's movement (

Chilla Jones 'Welcome to Bosstown' Mixtape

New heat from Chilla Jones and a handful of features from other Massachusetts artist including Lisa Bello, Lee Boy and Ea$y Money among others. Surefire holding down the production and DJ2Thirteen still going hard supporting the homie Chilla. Tight all around, in particular I'm feeling "How Things Change" ft. Ben Carew, "How the Game Go" ft. Riznut, "Saint or Sinner" and "DILLIGAF" featuring Courtney Bennett.
Download your free copy~
Since his last solo release, The Juggernaut, Chilla Jones went from killing Youtube cyphers & the booth to the ring and been part of some of the most classic rap battles in recent years. After a 4 year workout he returns with this latest solo release. With features from the likes of Termanology, Mickey Factz, Production from Grammy & BET Award Nominated Surefire Creative Studios,  Reckless Dex of the Trackslayerz & More!

Bosstown Cypher Series Volume 1 Episode 1


Chilla Jones, recently known for his highly regarded Rap Battles on URL, KOTD & other battle leagues, gives local artists from his hometown and chance to show and prove. This video is part 1 of a series of acapella cyphers that went down.
this episode features
Ace da Truth, Legit & J Bandit. Presented by Chilla Jones & DJ 2Thirteen~

Chill with Chilla Contest/ Win FREE Tickets to Total Slaughter!


Chilla Jones is Currently running a contest to win a pair of tickets to the Biggest Rap Battle Event of the year, Total Slaughter. Featuring Joe Budden Vs. Hollow Da Don & The Official Rematch of Murda Mook Vs. Loaded Lux. Just go to and buy any t-shirt. Its pretty simple. Check out the video for more details~

Michael Johnson, 400 Meter World Record Video/ Throwback Post

Now that my college track and field career is over as an athlete, I couldn't help to think about how incredibly slow I am, at least compared to the 400 meter world record time set by Michael Johnson. People always say how I am o so fast... but they don't know fast. My fastest 400 meter time was during my freshman year in 2004 at the end of the outdoor track and field season at Bates College. During a 4x400 relay, I ran a sub 48 in the anchor leg. During that same track meet (either NESCAC Championships or New England's D3 championships... google it lol), I ran my fastest open time of 49.09. During my sophomore year I got caught up with rugby and decided not to run track anymore. Looking back, I wish I stuck with it. I wonder how much faster I could have ran. Possibly a school record, 47.04? I don't if I would have ran that fast, but I know I would have been moving.

So I was fast but nothing great. Michael Johnson on the other hand, well he was amazingly fast. And supposedly his running form was awful, but who's to say his form is bad considering the fact that he has the fastest time ever recorded. Even Usain Bolt can't even compete with MJ in the 400, although I think he could if he properly trained for it. When Bolt was about 17 years old, he ran 45 seconds during the second leg of a 4x400 meter relay. CRAZY! But Johnson's world record performance set back at the 1999 Seville World Championships was on another level... he literally left his competitors in his dust. The previous record stood for about 11 years. Johnson's record has stood for 15 years so far... I wonder when it will be broken, if ever?!? But for now, enjoy the unorthodox running of the best to ever do it~

Reviewing Private Ryan in 2014 / MOVIE REVIEW "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)


Though I’ve only written a few movies reviews before, I feel like this movie is simply one of those movies that deserve a special place somewhere. Even though it’s old and has gotten the credit it very much deserves, it still just isn’t enough. Yes, you guessed right. I am definitely talking about the 1998 Steven Speilberg Oscar winner Saving Private Ryan. Initially, when I started watching the movie I honestly didn’t have high expectations from it because I have never really been much of a Speilberg fan. But my love for Tom Hanks’ theatrical ability compelled me to watch the movie. The first few minutes of the movie are quite slow, stagnant and painstaking especially when the, “all grown up” private Ryan is walking towards the graveyard. It might be quite emotional but we don’t know the backstory behind the emotional breakdown that Private Ryan faces when he is in the graveyard so we can’t relate to it. As the first few minutes end, we see sort of a cheesy flashback. I mean, seriously, flashbacks are always cheesy. They have been done so many times over the history of Hollywood that I can’t tend to them kindly. I absolutely abhor them. So that took my expectations a little down from the movie but then I was like, okay, I should give this a chance. I mean, it has all these Oscars and whatnot. It has to be good, right?

And so I did exactly that. As the soldiers sail through the waters and we see the fear that is so eloquently elaborated in the eyes of the actors, I got some of my expectations back. And then, when they finally arrive at the beach—bullets. That’s it. Out of nowhere. You simply don’t expect things to happen that fast and I suppose it’s a good thing, right? But that’s not why it makes Saving Private Ryan one of the best movie to be ever released. It is the perfect portrayal of emotion. The regret, guilt, fear, hatred, responsibility and even love we feel for others. There’s one of the scenes that stuck in my mind and I just can’t let go of it. When the opposing army is shooting at the US army, we come across a man lying down on his back with his insides hanging out as he is crying for his mother. I just can’t forget that scene. There is so much power enthralled within that one moment. We see a brave soldier who was brave enough to walk into the mouth of death knowing all the consequences but even then, a man who was prepared to die, could not ignore how terrible life is when it is snatched away from you and all you can do is become a little child begging for their mother. It is the portrayal of the power of life and how weak human beings truly are. There is a strange beauty in the sadness that I feel when I watch that scene. There are many scenes like that where Speilberg shows how delicate life is and how irrelevant it becomes in warfare. As we progress through the movie, I especially got fond of the moments when everything would slow down in Captain Miller’s (Tom Hanks) mind and all he can feel is guilt and fear as he watches his men who die in front of his eyes. He is desperate to save them. In any way he can. A part of him knows that he will lose a lot of men but that doesn’t matter. He expels all rationality and simply does his best. He does the right thing. This is seen as he drags one of his men towards safety but the opposing army bombs that exact place and all that Captain Miller is left with is the upper body of his soldier. We can see the disbelief in the eyes of Captain Miller. That is why Tom Hanks is magical. He can make you flow with emotion without even uttering a single word. Or sometimes even by uttering a single word (Wilson! Wilson! Wilson!).

Apart from Tom Hanks’ acting, the entire cast is amazing. I mean seriously. It’s the perfect recipe. The dramatic section of Tom Hanks’ acting ability, Matt Damon’s improvisational skills, Barry Pepper’s attitude, Vin Diesel’s mere bulk and Giovanni Ribisi’s dramatic acting—it doesn’t get any better. I must comment on the directing skills of Speilberg. He definitely is entitled to all the fame and praise that he gets. I may not know much about directing since I am merely an admirer of movies but as a member of the audience, I can say that watching that movie actually makes you feel like you’re in there with them, to hell with these modern 3-D effects. You don’t need 3-D effects if you have a man like Speilberg directing the film.

Though I do feel that somewhere in the ending of the movie, it loses its pace that it had in the beginning. Personally, I feel like the wait for the boss battle at the end of the movie is put off for too long and not many exciting things happen during that almost making the person lose interest. Even though I admit that when Captain Miller asks Private Ryan to remember something he did with his brothers is truly heartbreaking but there is simply too much time gap to be filled up by that single scene.

Finally, I must commend Jeremy Davies (Corporal Upham) on perfectly executing his character. The socially awkward bookworm who is put in a situation he has never been in. Now, in most movies we would expect such a character to rise above all odds and face his fears but that’s what makes Saving Private Ryan so good. It is realistic. How is possible for a map making translator to rise to the level of a war hero? It is not and that’s exactly what happens in the movie. He tries his best but he has simply never been in a situation like that. So, he does the only thing he can; save himself.
In all fairness, I think this movie is one of the movies to watch before you die. And I mean it. I give this particular movie 9 out of 10 stars.

Written by Sarmad Ishtiaq.
Student at Bates College.
Professional Bullshitter.

Follow on Twitter!
@SarmadIshtiaq1  @TheReelAce

Professional Sports Reel/ Correspondent and Video Producer

Many people are aware of my video production experience but most aren't familiar with the amount of time I have spent covering sports. Primarily high school football and basketball, I have also covered soccer, lacrosse and a few other sporting events on the high school and college level. Hired by contract, I have had the opportunity to meet future (and now current) professional athletes before they make it to the big stage. I have traveled throughout New England to the mid-west and as south as Florida loving every second of it. As you can see in my professional sports reel, I have interviewed and/ or filmed former Celtics and current Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers of the New Orleans Hornets, Boston Celtics star Jared Sullinger, UCONN football commitment Arkeel Newsome, former UCLA basketball star and 2014 NBA Draft prospect Kyle Anderson, Reggie Bullock of the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris, former Florida State University running back and 2014 NFL Draft prospect James Wilder Jr., former Chicago Bears center Edwin Williams and literally hundreds of others. Although I created this sports reel in 2012, it still looks better than most of the professional sports reels that I have stumbled across in 2014. So check it out, and do not hesitate to contact me if your are looking to hire a talented, hardworking and enthusiastic sports correspondent, videographer or editor.

Goodie Mob "Thought Process" Throwback Post

Off of Goodie Mob's 1995 debut album, Soul Food featured one of best examples of classic southern rap. The record "Thought Process" touches on issues involving race, violence, drugs and class, like most other rap and hip hop songs. But unlike much of the rap music that is being played on MTV or the mainstream radio stations, they aren't necessarily promoting gang violence or the consumption of drugs, but instead explaining why some men in the black community get engaged with them. And I know some of you youngins might not be familiar with this record or album, but just give it a try. Beat is laid back and smooth but yet fast enough to keep your head rocking to the funky fresh vibe. And featuring Andre 3000 who is part of the Outkast duo and also a fellow Dungen Family member, blesses the track with a verse that probably needs a few listens before you even comprehend half of what he's getting at. Time is flying by way too fast, can't believe it's almost been 20 years since this dropped. I'm just glad I was reminded of it, I wasn't old enough to even appreciate or understand what they were saying. We need more conscious rap and hip hop music like this. Dope track, and one that tends to be overlooked and forgotten... especially with respect to southern rap and hip hop.

Tupac Shakur Animation Cartoon/ PBS Blank on Blank Series

The second video that I am posting from the Blank on Blank series is with Tupac. In what sounds like a small diner, interviewer Benjamin Svetkey gets Tupac to speak about his future and some of the hardships he was dealing with as a successful rapper. Its crazy to think this interview took place twenty years ago, back in 1994. Always keeping it real, I especially enjoyed Tupac's response when asked about the press, "Just as much truth as I bring to my work, a journalist should bring that much truth to their work. Why do I have honor and you guys don't have honor? I'm not a journalist, I'm a fucking thug."

Classified X / Documentary on the History of Racist Stereotypes of African Americans in Cinema

Recently a college professor suggested that I watch a documentary called Classified X from actor and director Melvin Van Peebles. Now the name rang a bell, but something was off... until it came to me, Mario Van Peebles. Mario was the actor from New Jack City, Ali, and Carlitos Way among many other movies and TV shows. Melvin is Mario's father who played a critical role in the film industry, often credited for the first blaxploitation film with his movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song which was released before Shaft. But that is enough background info about the director. Classified X was released in 1998, and the fact that I am just stumbling across it is kind of upsetting. More people need to be aware of documentaries like this. Very educational and informative, it explores the racially stereotyped portrayal of African Americans in American film and television over the past 100 years. If you are interested in learning about American cinema-film and television, racism in America or the representation of African Americans, then you have come to the right place. Not only does this documentary speak on the portrayal of African Americans but also the power of these illustrations and how they "mess with my mind" as Melvin put it. Stay open minded to Melvins thoughts and ideas, and I promise it will shine a light on the dark things you have seen.

You can order a high quality version of the DVD here! But just so you know it is worthy, I found the entire documentary uploaded on YouTube in 6 parts. Not the best quality since it was uploaded a while ago, but it gets the job done. Enjoy~

Chromeo feat. Toro y Moi "Come Alive" Official Music Video

So this is a new record that I'm diggin. Good vibes, funky and refreshing, this is the perfect record to kick things off on this snowy Febuarary morning. I honestly don't know much about either of these artist but I like the chemistry they have together. It's all about living in the present, and if you aren't... well then, you just might need to come alive~

Unlocking The Truth Band - Black Boys Who Make Heavy Metal and Hard Rock (Video Interview)

Wow, so its not everyday that I feel like I am inspired by little kids... at least not like best friends Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins... there is also a bass player named Alec Atkins, but for whatever reason he wasn't part of this interview. While it is assumed that most black kids in the city want to be rappers or only listen to rap and hip hop music, these two brothas are creating their own path and going in a different direction... heavy metal. I am a big believer in doing things your own way when you are truly ready, so seeing this video is great. Its inspiring. I personally love all types of music, not so much heavy metal but occasionally there are songs here and there that I enjoy. But this is exactly the type of message I try to preach, do what makes you happy. Be you! ~ Enjoy ~  @UnlocktheTruth3 @TheReelAce

Sam Smith "Money On My Mind" Official Music Video/ 'In the Lonely Hour'

So by now you may be familiar with the British singer Sam Smith because of his vocals used in the Disclosure song "Latch"... if you don't know that record check it out here. But Sam Smith is definitely earning an award or two before the year is over, this dude can sing. He has a unique soulful voice that really caught my attention in the record "Money on My Mind" which he dropped at the end of 2013. Now that it is 2014 and he has made a buzz, he just released an official music video... I believe it is his first major video. And being my first post of 2014 (Yes I've been busy with school and other commitments) this is a perfect way to start the new year... something different. I mean money is clearly an important part of our lives but knowing that its not always about the money is a comforting feeling. "I do it for the love"~ Enjoy~ @SamSmithWorld @TheReelAce

"The Contrast of Evil" Documentary/ The Villain Character as a Theory

A brand new documentary from the homie Dante Luna, it looks at the significance of the evil villain or "the other" in movies and shows. Although the villain character is usually recognized, the elements that are required to actually construct this "other"are not examined, and this is where "The Contrast of Evil" comes into the picture. Definitely check it out, you will see many familiar faces... cough cough... the Power Rangers and Danny Glove among many others~

@DanteLuna @TheReelAce

Filmed: Saturday 11/02/13 & Sunday 11/03/13 at the Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence, Rhode Island.

"Contrast of Evil" is a documentary on villain theory. I spoke with people who love stories and asked them to reflect on their feelings of the "bad guy." My intention isn't to persuade the world to think any one way about the idea of darkness in entertainment. This is a conversation piece that explores the contrast of evil in art and how it relates to life. 

executive producer Steve Perry
directed, produced & edited by dante luna
co-produced by Joe Goulart, Mr. FlakoVeli & Sito Sosa

Danny Glover, Ernie Hudson, David Yost, Walter Jones, Barbara Goodson, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Kerrigan Mahan, Steven Cardenas, Terry Kiser, Jack O'Halloran, Mike Lilly, Allen Bellman, James Tolkan, Claudia Wells, Mark Texeira, Rich Buckler, Sal Lizard the Vampire Santa, Tonya Ceramics, Nicole Marie Jean, John Amos, William Forsythe, Simon Fisher-Becker & Richard Hatch

Frank Fetti "Socks & Sandals" Official Music Video

A brand new video and record from the homie Frank Fetti... this is that new heat with an old school flow. Something perfect to bump if your just chillin and rollin up. With the help of G.Nellz and CT Ike, we have a some nice visuals in this music video. And if your feelin this look out for his Free EP "Cloud9" which is coming next month~

@FrankFetti @Gnellz @CTike @TheReelAce

Beastie Boys Animation Cartoon/ PBS Blank on Blank Series

A very cool series from Blank on Blank, they basically create cartoon animations over exclusive never before heard interviews. Relatively short videos about 3-7 minutes long, they feature famous public figures who have entertained, inspired and influenced all of us someway or another. This first video that I am going to post is with the Beastie Boys. Adrock, MCA and Mike D are pioneers in the rap community, and as you can hear, even in 1985 they were stirring things up. I especially love how they bring up the whole, "you guys are white, so your music is only for white people" talk. Their response is money and actually part of the reason I do believe there should be a different genra for suburban oriented rap/hip hop musician and fans called frat rap. Now do I really care, no not so much... just food for thought. But check out this video, its dope~

Best Pimp Slap Ever Video/ LOL

This Brazilian dude slaps the hell out of his buddy. This white guy has no idea how to react and walks off looking so confused hahaha. This is great. All you can do is laugh~

Gillie Da Kid ft. Pusha T "Tryna Get Me One" Official Music Video

Damn, how did I let this one slip by me. Two ill underrated rappers on one track... plus director Bobby Yan has some nice visuals in this zombie infested city. Track is money, most people already know Pusha is a beast, but Gillie has been doin his thing for years and still hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves. Some Philly and VA ish~

@Gilliedakid @Pusha_T  @TheReelAce

Javon Johnson "Cuz He's Black" Video/ 2013 National Poetry Slam Second Place

Performing during the semifinals of the 2013 National Poetry Slam for Da Poetry Lounge in Boston, Massachusetts, Javon Johnson spit some knowledge. "Cuz He's Black" speaks about some of the hardships Black men and boys have to deal with while growing up here in America. DPL somehow took second place in the tournament. I wish there was a video for the winner... cause Javon did the damn thang in this. Being black and an uncle, this touches home. Powerful stuff.

Below is the text from the poem...

So I'm driving down the street with
my 4-year-old nephew.
He, knocking back a juice
box, me, a Snapple, today y'all
we are doing manly shit. I love
watching the way his mind works.
He asks a million questions.
Uncle, why is the sky blue?
Uncle, how do cars go?
Uncle, why don't dogs talk?
Uncle, uncle, uncle, he asks,
uncle, uncle, uncle, he asks
uncle uncle uncle
as if his voice box is
a warped record. I try my best
to answer every question, I do.
I say it's because the way
the sun lights up the outer space.
It's because engines
make the wheels go.
It's because their minds aren't
quite like ours. I say Yes.
No. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. I don't know.
Who knows? Maybe. We laugh.
He smiles at me, looks out the window,
spots a cop car, drops his seat
and says,
"Oh man, Uncle, 5-0, we gotta hide."
I'll be honest. I'm not happy
with the way we raise our Black boys.
Don't like the fact that
he learned to hide
from the cops before
he knew how to read.
Angrier that his survival
depends more on
his ability to deal
with the "authorities"
than it does his own literacy.
"Get up," I yell at him. "In this car, in this family,
we are not afraid
of the law."
I wonder if he can hear
the uncertainty in my voice.
Is today the day he learns
that uncle is willing to lie to him,
that I am more human
than hero?
We both know the truth
is far more complex than
do not hide. We both know too many
Black boys who disappeared.
Names lost.
Know too many Trayvon Martins
Oscar Grants
and Abner Louimas, know too many
Sean Bells, and Amadou Diallos
Know too well that we are
the hard-boiled sons of Emmett Till.
Still, we both know
it's not about whether or not
the shooter is racist,
it's about how poor Black boys
are treated as problems
well before we are treated as people.
Black boys in this country
cannot afford
to play cops and robbers
if we're always considered the latter,
don't have the luxury
of playing war
when we're already in one.
Where I'm from,
seeing cop cars drive
down the street feels a lot
like low-flying planes in New York
City. Where I'm from, routine traffic
stops are more like mine
fields, any wrong move
could very well mean your life.
And how do I look my nephew in his apple face
and tell him to be strong when we both know
black boys are murdered every day, simply
for standing up for themselves? I take him
by the hand, I say
be strong. I say be smart. Be kind, and polite.
Know your laws. Be aware of
how quickly your hands move
to pocket for wallet or ID,
be more aware of how quickly
the officer's hand moves to holster, for gun.
Be Black. Be a boy and have fun,
because this world will force you to
become a man much quicker
than you need to.
"Uncle," he asks, "what happens
if the cop is really mean?"
And, it scares me to
know that he, like
so many Black boys,
is getting ready for a war
I can't prepare him for.

@Javonism @TheReelAce

Chilla Jones "Control Boston" Official Record / Alyssa Marie "Mr. Lamar" Official Music Video

S/O the homie DJ 2Thirteen for sending me these two records. Both are fire~

Top of the City Music Brings you 2 releases with a bit of Hip Hop variety but lyrical content nevertheless...

Chilla Jones - Control Boston is a response track to another local Boston artist by the name of International Show which displays heavy punches and wordplay and even takes shots at more known Mass emcee's such as Termanology!

Alyssa Marie, residing from the south shore of Massachusetts, also releases "Mr. Lamar" an original production speaking on the misconceptions taken from the original Control record and more...
Both real good music from Top of the City Music Group!

@ChillaJones @AlysssaMariiie @DJ2Thirteen @TheReelAce

Chilla Jones ft. Lee boy & Lisa Bello "Bosstown" Official Record (Prod. by Reckless Dex)

Chilla Jones, the artist most known for his great lyrics,Wordplay and Schemes on the URL/SMACK stage (Most recently in his battle aginst DNA at NOME 3), is now woking on his return to music via the upcoming Comeback EP, that is set for release this fall. Jones' 1st release off the EP is the track "Bosstown" the nickname & slogan used by Chilla at the end of many a battle, featuring 2 Boston up and comers in the Hip-hop & Pop/R&B field, Lee Boy & Lisa Bello!

@ChillaJones  @LisaBelloMusic @LeeBoy_L4L @DJ2Thirteen  @TheReelAce

Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) and Warren Buffett Business Interview with Forbes Video

I just watched the Jay Z and Warren Buffett video interview with Steve Forbes and I enjoyed it. I thought it was kind of humorous seeing Jay between these two older white men who grew up listening to music from James Brown's era... who of course was the original MC. But after JB has come and gone along with the monopoly that record labels had over artist (yea I know they basically still do), Jay-Z represents the hope that many artist and normal people dream of. Nothing over-the-top and almost everything you would expect to hear from two incredibly wealthy individuals who have shown the world that they know how to build empires. Well almost everything. I was definitely surprised to hear Warren Buffett recognize the fact that luck played a major role in his life being a white male born in America during the 1930's.

"We didn't give up. That was the genius thing we did" Jay-Z

"Knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to focus on"
Warren Buffett
"Somebody said, how do you beat Bobby Fischer? You play him in any game but chess"
Warren Buffett

@S_C_  @WarrenBuffett  @Forbes  @TheReelAce

Donn Lennon (Smoke Bulga) "Here We Go" Official Music Video

Watch the newest video to drop from Donn Lennon aka Smoke Bulga which was directed by J.R. Saint. Visuals are crazy in this one and you should already know what it is with Mr. Lennon on the mic~

@DonnLennon @JRSaintFilms @TheReelAce

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