Thursday, October 29, 2009

Holiest of Things

photo by David Gilkey/NPR

I commissioned this poem in 2004 for a video I did about children in Palestine. A friend of mine who I had been blessed to meet named Samer Tamimi is an amazing poet who is originally Palestinian. His poem is what remains from the project.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The RZA and Hip Hop Spirituality

I had become a fan of the Wu-Tang Clan when I was fairly young, hearing "Protect Ya Neck" on the radio in the early/mid 90s after the release of their first album. A few Wu-Tang songs circulated on the homemade mix tapes my older brother made from the radio that I listened to, years before I even purchased a Wu Tang album. By 97 and the arrival of the second Wu-Tang album, "Forever" I was all ears. Since getting my dad to drive me to a Sam Goody after school was way out of the question, a friend of mine bought the CD for me the day it came out. I listened to the album in one session and it left me rapping the lyrics for years to come in addition to asking a lot of questions about the world.

When I heard the opening verse from "Impossible" it left me searching for more..
Fusion of the five elements, to search for the higher intelligence
Women walk around celibate, livin irrelevant
The most benevolent king, communicatin through your dreams
Mental pictures been painted, Allah's heard and seen
everywhere, throughout your surroundin atmosphere
Troposphere, thermosphere, stratosphere
Can you imagine from one single idea, everything appeared here
Understanding makes my truth, crystal clear...
The RZA's lyrical career is by no means one that is squeeky clean nor void of hypocrisies and contradictions. In fact, RZA's use 5 Percenter teachings generally tunes me out of his philosophy. However, his verses have generally served as encouragement for his community and his listeners to seek knowledge, read, expand their vocabulary and to calculate actions, seeing life as a chessboard.

RZA's new book looks like an interesting read but more importantly, books authored within the hip hop community, though rare, reach an audience that may have never picked up a book. The desire for knowledge is shared by all people, but without credibility in the culture of the audience, words will fail to stick.

RZA's humility in the above video is commendable for a rap artist and he has definitely sparked my attention as he did before in 97. I look forward to reading The Tao of Wu.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Open Indie May Bring Bucks Back To Filmmakers

Indie filmmakers who choose to distribute their work on their own (like myself) are at a serious disadvantage relative to films with high end distribution. On the other hand, audience opportunity to interact with filmmakers and artists as well as hold screenings of indie movies are much better than films distributed by a third party. is an opportunity for indie film audiences to find movies they want to see and/or screen, and be informed about showings in their area, all while the filmmaker has a chance to benefit financially from each viewer.

As much as the internet has democratized cinema, image makers are still searching for ways to monetize their content in a way that stays accessible to the internet audience. Open Indie may be part of the answer... we'll see.