Brother Trayvon: Makes Me Wanna Holla’!

“Make me wanna holla the way they do my life! This ain’t livin’, This ain’t livin’”

                                                                                             Marvin Gaye- “Inner City Blues” 1971

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Over the last two weeks my heart goes out to the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old teenager that was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch patrolman who was on duty at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated living community in Sanford, Florida. Martin was on his way home from the 7-Eleven during halftime of this year’s 2012 NBA All Star Game when Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department on February 26th to report someone suspicious walking back to the neighborhood.

Zimmerman told police dispatchers: “Something’s wrong with him. Yep. He’s coming to check me out.” He later adds, “he’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Send officers over here.” Trayvon then noticed the Zimmerman and began to run. Then Zimmerman told the dispatcher he was following him and authorities told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”

Immediately afterward, residents of Retreat at Twin Lakes began calling 911 to report a fight, then followed by a gunshot. When police arrived minutes later, Trayvon was dead. Police found him carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea that he had purchased at a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store while headed back to his father’s fiancee’s home.

As the dust is finally about to settle on this deadly and horrible shooting, we now find out that George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old patrolman that admitted to shooting the unarmed Miami Gardens teen, as had a habitual habit of calling police authorities over the last year. In fact, according to representatives of the Sanford Police Department, “Zimmerman called our police department 46 times since January 1st, 2011.” According to authorities Zimmerman called about windows being open and to report other disturbances. 

As of late Monday the United States Justice Department is about to investigate and open a federal civil rights probe into Trayvon’s death. Also Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger will being their investigation immediately and grand jurors will meet on April 10.

What shocks me about this whole case is a couple of issues that have to relate to both race and incompetency. 

First, you have a special patrol neighborhood watch volunteer who drives around with a .9 millimeter gun with the mind-state of Barney Fife meets David Duke. George Zimmerman was a guy that over a period of time made rush accusations about residents and visitors over the last couple of years. Him having the power to even carry a registered concealed weapon such as Zimmerman’s was major error of judgement as well as not suitable for this kind of residential environment. If you didn’t know, the State of Florida is the first state in the country to pass the “Stand Your Ground” law which allows residents the right to confront and pursue criminals or someone who’s attacked them. By law, any person can carry a concealed weapon anywhere in Florida. The fact Zimmerman used this kind of excessive force on a 17-year-old kid and point blank shot him in the chest was over the line. Also how the Sanford Police Department has openly acknowledged patrolman Zimmerman’s actions and have cleared him of his behavior and support how he handled the incident.

I think Zimmerman and the Sanford Police Department are sending a blatant message to the country that racial profiling is acceptable. It also validates that racism is very much alive and kicking in the United States. The Sanford Police Department released the 911 phone call of patrolman Zimmerman at 7:09pm speaking to the dispatcher describing Trayvon as he’s about to approach him: 

Dispatcher: “Do you need police, fire or medical?”

Zimmerman: “We had some break-ins in our neighborhood … and there is a real suspicious guy. … This guy looks like he’s up to no good, he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s walking around looking about. “

Dispatcher: “Is this guy white, black, Hispanic?”

Zimmerman: “He looks black.”

Dispatcher: “Did you see what he’s wearing?”

Zimmerman: “A dark hoodie, grey hoodie, jeans or sweatpants or white shoes. He’s walking around staring at the houses. Now he’s just staring at me.”

Dispatcher: “Location?”

Zimmerman: “He’s near the clubhouse right now. Now he’s coming towards me. He has his hands in his waistband. He is a black male. Something’s wrong with him. Yep. He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Send officers over here.”

Dispatcher: “Let me know if he does anything else.”

Zimmerman: “These a**holes, they always get away. When you come in go straight to the left … when you pass the clubhouse …”

Dispatcher: “Clubhouse?”

Zimmerman: “Go straight in. Oh, s***. He’s running … down towards the other entrance of neighborhood.”

Dispatcher: “He’s running? Which way is he running?”

Zimmerman: “Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.”

Dispatcher: “Which entrance is that, that he is running towards?

Zimmerman: “The back entrance.”

[inaudible]

Dispatcher: “Are you following him?”

Zimmerman: “Yeah.”

Dispatcher: “OK. We don’t need you to do that. What’s your name?”

Zimmerman: “George. Zimmerman.”

Dispatcher: “Do you want to meet with the officer …”

Zimmerman: “Tell them to come past the clubhouse and make a left then past mailboxes and they will see my truck …”

Dispatcher: “What’s your apartment number?”

Zimmerman: “It’s a home. … I don’t want to give that out. I don’t know who this kid is.”

Dispatcher: “I will let them know where to meet you.”

Zimmerman: “Have them call me, and I will let you know where I’m at.”

From reading the transcript, Zimmerman uses racists language as well as has a tinge if hate in his tone toward’s Trayvon Martin. The police allows this kind of language from a volunteer patrolman and thinks his actions justify what he’s done! I find that the person who described Trayvon as suspicious, was minority himself. Zimmerman is of hispanic descent, yet, has the audacity to profile someone on the content of their skin color! 

This brings me to my last point. How do you define someone being suspicious? Why in 2012 people of color are always “suspicious?” Trayvon’s murder reminds me a lot Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Rayshawn Moreno, and the legendary Marquete Frey whose legendary police beat-down started the 1965 Watts riots. The police have this mind-state that blacks are always ‘suspicious!’ The names I just mentioned are enough to validate the racist and unethical state of how some law enforcement agencies address people of color. I’m saddened to read and still have to look over my back as a black man still trying to live a decent and honest life. The murder of Trayvon has kept blacks and other minorities on alert on how the police now handle youth.Civil rights laws have been made to protect teens and minorities from crimes like this but the country and our powers that be continue to shield and protect the wrong and the sinister. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law proves my point to the extent that it allowed George Zimmerman to walk scout free! Under this law the Sanford Police Department ruled in his Zimmerman’s favor and allowed the law to protect him yet sent an innocent teen to the grave. Their needs to be a set of laws created for people of color and minorities that protect the human and civil rights against profiling and more investigations for police departments that cover the actions of a George Zimmerman.

The great Muhammad Ali said, “I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.” Like so many blacks like Trayvon and the tens of millions of other minorities in the country, racism and profiling is still roaring its ugly head and we still have a ways to go to be free in this country!

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The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report   

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

 
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The Full Monty: Celebrating 50 Years of Monty Alexander

ImageFor two weeks in late winter of this year at the Blue Note Jazz Club, pianist and bandleader Monty Alexander celebrated 50 years as an entertainer. He invited dear friends from his native Jamaica to the jazz world to help bring in this monumental occasion. 

Monty isn’t just a well accomplished jazz pianist but he’s also one of the most respected and well sought reggae musicians in his native Jamaica. Recording and performing with many reggae artists like Ernest Ranglin, Sly and Robbie, and Beres Hammond. 

He’s just come off his first Grammy-nominated Motema Records release “Harlem-Kingston Express Live!” for best Reggae Album. The Harlem-Kingston Express is the pianist’s foray into his musical youth while growing up in Kingston, Jamaica. While in Kingston, he witnessed and experienced the birth of Ska and Reggae music. The music was developed during the late 1950’s as an offshoot of ska, rhythm and blues, and mento. Monty heard American roots music like soul, blues, and gospel while listening to the early pioneers of reggae like Theophilus Beckford, The Wailers(featuring a young Bob Marley and Peter Tosh),and Millie Small. Monty’s disc is a mixture of all those influences while playing tributes to our jazz masters that hailed from Harlem like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday.

To really understand Monty’s rich history of reggae and jazz, these two weeks at the Blue Note Jazz Club really showcased his rich history. Born on June 6th, 1944 in Kingston, Jamaica, began studying piano when he was six years old. As a child into his teens, Monty recorded with some reggaes’ up and coming artists. It was in his childhood that he and his family would listen to American radio stations and heard jazz music along with popular R & B. Monty also saw many of the jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Nat “King” Cole while performing on the island. During his late teens his family moved to Miami and he followed them shortly after. He began playing in the local bars and clubs when one night club owner Jilly Rizzo and his best friend Frank Sinatra where they flew in to New York City where he was the club pianist at Jilly’s. It was there that he accompanied Mr. Sinatra and the many other legendary musical icons like Miles Davis to Milt Jackson. It was while he was in New York were he also got his chops as a session musician. 

Monty’s first live recording “Uplift” on the Jazz Legacy Productions imprint, took years of live recordings that he had unreleased and let label founder and dear friend John Lee listen to the material. After an unprecedented first listen, Lee decided that this would be Monty’s debut disc for the label. “Uplift” features a dynamic rhythm section that includes Hassan Shakur on bass, and drummers Frits Landesbergen and Herlin Riley. The depth and range of material that was selected for the disc features classics like “Come Fly With Me,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” and “One Mint Julep.” 

Both of these recordings from Monty will give listeners and his fans a multi-faceted scope of his range as a well-rounded musician. “Uplift” is a project that showcases the intimate piano trio that he’s been known for for the last 50 years. 

His two weeks at the Blue Note was both a humbling and exciting time for Monty in that he shared the bandstand as a soloist and paying respect to the musicians he’s accompanied throughout his 50 years in the business. Every night was a different music theme that showcased the many talents of Mr. Alexander. One night was the ’76 Montreux Trio Reunion with John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton. Monty’s tribute to Jilly’s Jazz Club with vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and Freddy Cole with guitarist Russell Malone. Other special guests that played with Monty over the two weeks included Christian McBride, Robbie Shakespeare, Shaggy, Pat Martino, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Diana King, Kevin Spacey, and Diana Kroll.

To find out Monty’s upcoming club and festival dates, or to order both of his discs, visit him on the web at montyalexander.com. Monty’s record label websites are jazzlegacyproductions.com and motema.com.

 

The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report   

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

 

Goodbye Andrew! You Won’t Be Missed

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I know the last couple of weeks I’ve been on this tirade on how the media continues to allow certain members of a the press a pass when it comes to what they say and continues to give them a slap on the wrist. Well, this week the media circus continues!

Before I begin, I personally don’t feel any compassion nor loss over the death of conservative blogger and media talking head Andrew Breitbart. As you know, Breitbart died on March 1st, 2012 as he collapsed while walking in Brentwood, California, just outside of Los Angeles.

Breitbert, the son of Gerald and Arlene Breitbert, was born to a famous restauranteur and banker. The Brentwood native graduated from Tulane University where he earned a degree in American Studies. Upon graduation he worked for E! Entertainment Network where made a name for himself in the online division of the network in the mid-1990’s. During the mid to late 1990’s the internet took hold of a new form of media where tens of millions could go to their computer and access all forms of news, entertainment, and information. This was the same time Matt Drudge, formed an online magazine in 1994 that would become the first official blog called “The Drudge Report.” Drudge would send out endless e-mails on gossip based and over opinionated issues on political issues from a conservative point of view. Drudge went from a little over 1,000 e-mail subscriptions in his first year to well over 85,000 subscriptions in 1998. Some of the tainted and slanted stories that put The Drudge Report on the map was the Monica Lewinsky debacle with then President Bill Clinton. This was the website that first broke the scandal. Also, TDR also broke the news about then 1996 Presidential GOP’s candidate Bob Dole’s Vice-President nominee would be Jack Kemp.

Matt Drudge would adopt Andrew as a friend as well as contributor to The Drudge Report. In addition to him developing a name for himself, Breitbert would also contribute his columns in other publications like The Washington Times, Weekly Standard Online, the Wall Street Journal, and the National Review. As the new online medium was taking off, readership took off like a rocket during the 2000’s. His conservative base would help him form then conservative, now liberal columnist Arianna Huffington, to start The Huffington Post. Drudge was the person who introduced the young Breitbert to her in the late 1990’s. She asked Andrew to help her start the online venture and is now considered one of the most important online political and news based blogs in the country.

In addition to Mr. Breitbert’s rise as a writer, he also was a frequent guest on such shows as the Dennis Miller Show, Real Time with Bill Maher and Fox News’s Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld.

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His rise to fame is due to his unethical news practices and tabloid style gimmicks to get the press’s attention to make stories. Remember the ACORN fake undercover videos that he posted and produced in 2009. Breitbert sent an actress in with the video camera posing as an prostitute with another actor posing as her boyfriend played as a pimp, in recorded in many ACORN offices showing the actors how to get advice on how to not pay taxes and other schemes like how to get law enforcement agents not infiltrate illegal rings of child prostitution and human smuggling. Breitbert edited the videos where they were leaked to the press and that a Congressional and state investigation was issued to try to shut the government funded organization down. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, was founded in 1970 as a way for community-based organizations in the US to assist in voter registration, provide low income medical care, and assist in providing affordable housing to over 500,000 residents in over 100 cities. After the investigation, evidence proved that the videos were fraudulent and they were set-up. In 2010 many of ACORN’s chapters in most of the cities were closed due to this fake and unethical news reporting.

Mr. Breitbert’s antics didn’t stop there. in the summer of 2010, former USDA official Shirley Sherrod was fired due to a video her speaking at a NAACP fundraising dinner on how the government, due to race, will give a white man government assistance over a person of color. Breutbert, on his website BigGoverment.com posted excerpts of Mrs. Sherrod’s speech and took the content of her speech out of context. Under the pressures of the President and the USDA, Mrs. Sherrod was forced to resign. After an extensive investigation due to the full-length video review by the NAACP, the White House, and United States Secretary of Agriculture, offered Mrs. Sherrod a new position and she sued Breitbert for slander and defamation of character. Her lawsuit with Breitbert is still pending.

Needless to say, the press gave this man a pat on the back last week even though his actions were lethal and tainted.

The Drudge Report was the beginning of this new downsizing of news rooms and organizations and the distraction between truth and fiction. Matt Drudge and Matthew Breitbert lowered the bar on what is credible news and how the new tabloid news organizations like TMZ and Access Hollywood have set the new bar on how news is presented. For the press to give Mr. Breitbert five minutes is amazing. Veteran news icons like Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Carl T. Rowan, and Ed Bradley would turn over in their graves to see false news even being covered in the daily news. Needless to say, news is news when presented by journalists. Many who endure and love the news will not blink and eye that Mr. Breitbert is now gone. But the sad thing is, the newsrooms and the bloggesphere is now filled with tens of thousands of him around the world giving this business a black eye!

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Brian Pace

The Pace Report   

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

 

Racist Rants By White Commentators OK, But Not By Black Ones!

I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed and disgusted I’ve been over the last month on how the media and many of the most credible news organizations has been acting in presenting the news to the masses. As of lately, the press is been taking “if it bleeds it leads” to heart. There have been racist statements as well as suspensions, firings, and negative press due to lack of ethical journalistic standards as well as the news rooms being dictated by advertisers and money pouring in due to high ratings and a strong online presence.

Just last week one of ESPN’s online writers wrote a real nasty description of Asian-American NBA New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin. As the country is taking notice of Lin’s natural basketball ability and him bringing a positive light to both the NBA and the Asian-American community, after one of the Knick’s games, ESPN writer Anthony Fedrico described Lin in his online column: “Chink in the armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.” To add insult to injury, ESPN anchor Max Bretos was suspended for 30 days by ESPN for saying Fedrico’s statement on live television. The irony of Bretos suspension is that he posted on his Twitter page the day after he was suspended that his wife is Asian!

Also further down on the TV dial, columnist and CNN TV analyst Roland Martin was suspended by the network for comments he tweeted during the Super Bowl that they believed were homophobic. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and members of other LGBT organizations demanded that Mr. Martin be let go. Martin made comments on about David Beckham’s new H & M commercial. The commercial is a tad bit sexual and has made some waves due to the content of Mr. Beckham wearing the new underwear line. Martin tweets: “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!” and “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” Immediately after his suspension he posted an apology on his website stating: “To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry.” He adds, “I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant. I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.”

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Before I vent on the Roland Martin fiasco, let me shed some light on the way white media pundits and talking heads are let off the hook with slaps on the wrists or mild suspensions while people of color get hanged like a brother in 1900’s Jim Crow times! 

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Remember the late Andy Rooney, commentator for 60 Minutes for over 30 years, made the stupid and racist comment in 1990: “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes all known to lead to premature death.” He was suspended for three months without pay. Although the network lost 20 percent of their viewing audience, the network reinstated his segment for the show. But that is just some of the nonsense that’s come from his mouth over the years. Rooney wrote on record in his many columns over the years many racist tyrants like his take on today’s baseball players from 2007. He wrote: “I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me.” He later adds, “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have said it, but it’s a name that seems common in baseball now. I certainly didn’t think of it in any derogatory sense.”Image

Or, lets not forget the classic statement from syndicated TV and show host Don Imus back in 2007 when he called the Rutgers University woman’s basketball team “nappy headed hos. The dialogue took place between he and his executive producer Bernard McGuirk as called then “hardcore hos” in regards to the appearance of the female athletes. As you recall Mr. Imus went on the Reverend Al Sharpton’s radio program “Keepin It Real With Al Sharpton” to address his comments. Sharpton, along with head coach C. Vivian Stringer, demanded he be fired. Seven sponsors pulled out and CBS President Leslie Mooves cancelled his radio show. MSNBC also pulled the plug and stopped broadcasting his live television simulcast. Imus was then picked up my the right-wing controlled Fox New Network several months immediately after his firing.

African-American NPR commentator Juan Williams was fired from his radio job at NPR for making the statement on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly back in the fall of 2010.Williams talked about how uncomfortable he felt about Muslims in their clothing attire. He stated: “I mean, look, Bill , I’m not a bigot, you know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country, but when I get on a plane, I’ve got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb, and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims , I get worried, I get nervous.” National Public Radio was already getting frustrated with Mr. William’s comments and his appearance on Fox News’s number # 1 rated cable news show added to his termination.

As I see it both Mr. Williams and Mr. Martin have been some kind of scape goat to deal with the political and poor business decisions that upper management has used to ease ruptured relationships with special interest groups. Mr. Williams comments were mild compared to extreme right-wing talk show hosts like Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Savage. And Mr. Martin’s comments about Mr. Beckham were tame next to shows that take blatant punches at the gay and lesbian community like Family Guy, South Park, The Boondocks, and Saturday Night Live. Its trip that Don Imus can get fired from both his radio and television job and get rehired by one of his network competitors just months later for calling black women “nappy headed hos!” There’s a set of double standards when people of color are blasted when they express mild-tempered and non-threatening comments, yet white commentators have always gotten a slap on the wrist.

I have a real problem with the gay and lesbian watch groups that got Roland Martin suspended. But before I break down their comments about Mr. Martin, I must address this important point to the gay community. First and foremost, you have the right to practice and worship any religion as well as choose your own partners. That’s between you, your family, friends, and your place of worship. But, being gay in the United States doesn’t make you better or give you the right to be excluded from being made fun of. You want equal marriage rights, protection from race crimes, as well as be looked upon as your equal based on your sexual orientation and preference. Mr. Martin’s comments weren’t intended to offend and belittle members of the gay and lesbian community. Shows as I indicated earlier like South Park, Family Guy and radio hosts like Rover, Howard Stern, and Don Imus have made a living at taking rude and cheap shots at gays for well over 20 years. Why don’t they stop them? The gay and lesbian population must deal with the racist stereotypes and jokes like many African-Americans have dealt with since we were brought over here by chains well over 450 years ago. David Beckham’s commercial is a bit racy and me, myself, doesn’t want to see a half naked man advertising underwear while I’m eating wings and drinking beer at the bar watching basketball! That doesn’t make me a homophobe! I just think the ad was in poor taste and I don’t feel underwear ads for men are appropriate during sports events. Mr. Martin was making a joke about the ad, NOT about ones sexually orientation. GET OVER IT!

Finally, the fact that ESPN handed the suspensions quickly to diffuse what could’ve been a disaster if the press kept pushing it, was them telling you that this will end and that It’ll never happen again! ESPN Max Bretos should’ve been suspended for good. For someone to take a cheap shot on ones racial identity is a low blow. Again, upper management played it safe and didn’t want to deal with the bad PR. That’s when you begin to question the ethics of the news department and organization. ESPN holds the rights to the NBA, PGA, NHL, and NFL. These guys earn billions of dollars a year due to advertisers and high ratings. Yet, you, the viewer, didn’t take the action to have this guy removed. The Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson took great lengths to get Don Imus off the air and it worked. How many more times are YOU the viewer and reader going to let more comments like “Chink in the armor” or “Nappy Headed Hos” transcend from these peoples mouth and newspaper columns? The problem is that you haven’t held these companies accountable for their actions and this kind of behavior continues to thrive. Ethics seem to have gone out the window and this tabloid filled news has tainted the quality of news. Some Americans have developed this complacency to accept what is being presented to them. This includes the Don Imus’, Rush Limbaughs’, and Glenn Becks! You have a right to stop watching and reading comments from this kind of entertainment. You have the right to boycott them via advertisers and their media operations. UNTIL you the reader gets out there to make a difference then you’ll continue to hear these mindless and racists epithets.  

Just something for you to think about!

 

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Brian Pace

The Pace Report   

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com