The awesome video work of Ari Lopez Wei

Ari in WWI uniform in a period train car

Ari Lopez Wei is The Wei’s photographer, videographer and Media Manager. He’s also a living historian who educates people about what life was like for colored and black soldiers in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and WWI.

You can see Ari’s fotos and some video shorts on Instagram and his blog. If you want to know more about the header image on this page, here’s the full post where he reflects on birthdays, and the day it was taken.

Newville Reenactment 2017
Alina & Gary Wedding Highlight Video
Camp Doughboy World War I (WWI) History Weekend

Court ruling: New Jersey police must turn over dashcam video on request

Source: Wikipedia

The New Jersey Law Journal reports on dashcam ruling handed down 30 June 2016. It’s a win for justice and respectful police conduct:

New Jersey appeals court on June 30 ruled that police video recordings taken from dashboard cameras are documents that must be released under the state’s Open Public Records Act.

Hurrah! I’m happy with this news. NJLJ reports that court case was filed by “open-government activist John Paff.” Thanks for the great work, John.

Principal Moody suspended for letting Paterson rapper Fetty Wap film music video at East Side High

Principal Zatiti Moody
Source: Urban Renaissance Media

A Paterson principal known for his educating excellence and strict discipline enforcement has been suspended from office by the New Jersey State appointed superintendent known for his attempts to keep Paterson students from experiencing quality education. The ostensible reason for the suspension: Principal Zatiti Moody allowed music phenomenon Fetty Wap to film a music video at East Side High School which contains twerking and portrays drug use. Behaviour that – like it or not – happens to be part of the school experience for many urban students.

Never mind that the video is a social statement, that Fetty Wap is an homegrown Patersonian who overcame a physical challenge to achieve national stardom or that school kids are pleased that a music icon like Fetty maintains ties with his roots and honors his hometown youth by bringing performances to their backyard – or in this case, school.

The community members who turned out at the June 15 Board of Ed meeting to show support for Principal Moody included Fetty himself, who put in a surprise appearance.

Fetty Wap — real name Willie Maxwell — showed up an hour after the meeting started and apologized for causing any controversy by filming the video at Eastside. He then departed the room, but stopped to patiently sign autographs in the school hallway.

When asked what prompted him to show up at the meeting, he said “I had to. For Paterson.”

Students, parents and community members wore T-shirts and buttons demanding that the district “Return Principal Moody back to Eastside High School. read more

Uptown Funk is good! – in both original & viola flavors

Uptown Funk!Uptown Funk song & video are just plain good. And Brother Jeremy Green does it up nice on viola too. Here’s the original by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.

But for now to see Jeremy Green’s version on viola, you need to visit I Love Being Black’s Facebook Page:
(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by I Love Being Black.

Michael Jackson’s banned 1995 song about racism “They Don’t Care About Us”

Michael at prison lunchD.B. Anderson tells us about the suppression and history of “They Don’t Care About Us”, the anti-racism song Michael Jackson wrote and recorded two years after being strip-searched by police in 1993.

“They Don’t Care About Us” was denounced by The New York Times even before its release, and did not reach much of its intended audience because the controversy caused by the New York Times article would go on to overshadow the song itself. Radio stations were reluctant to play it and one of the short films Jackson created for the song was banned in the US

We also learn that Sony Columbia films bought Jackson’s film acting rights, apparently in order to make sure he could not make a film. And that Jackson recorded two music videos of his song with Spike Lee.

The first version, recorded in Brazil, features the Afro-Brazilian drumming group Olodum. If you’re familiar with the song, this is the version you’ve probably seen. Already in production at the time of the controversy, it uses sound effects to obscure the objectionable words.

But the “Prison” version is a tour de force; Jackson had even more to be angry about. Jackson and Lee chose to film in a Long Island jail, said Lee, because “a lot of people in prison shouldn’t be there. A lot of people are there for a much longer time too. In American prisons, there are more brown and black people than white.”

All Jackson’s frustrations seem to be on display in this raw and angry performance. Behold: read more

Black Bruins say UCLA admits just a small number of Black students – for sports wins

A Yale Daily News reporter provides the essential background for this video decrying the starkly racist policies of UCLA, one of the United States’ largest colleges.

Last week, Sy Stokes and 11 other black male students from UCLA uploaded a YouTube video of a spoken word poem called “The Black Bruins.” The poem attacks the university for its lack of racial diversity, specifically its incredibly small percentage of black male students. Overall, only 3.3 percent of the male population of UCLA is black. Of the 2,418 entering male freshmen, only 48 were black.

The poem goes on to cite several other statistics about black males at UCLA. The graduation rate for black males is 74 percent, while the overall graduation rate is around 90 percent. Additionally, 65 percent of the 660 black males at UCLA are undergraduate athletes. UCLA also holds 109 NCAA championships, more than double the number of black male freshmen.

Stokes interprets the meaning behind these figures with the lines, “When we have more national championships than we do black male freshmen, it’s evident that our only purpose here is to improve your winning percentage. So now black high school kids can care less about grades, just as long as the number on the back of their jersey doesn’t fade.” read more

Like Jobs and Winfrey, Suli Breaks will not let exam results decide his fate

Young people around the world are speaking up about education and careers. We need to listen to them because – this is their age. The age of information. And they know, much more than we give them credit for.

Suli Breaks - exam results

No dejaré que el resultado de un examen decida mi destino (subtitulado en Español)


Right now, there is a kid finishing parents evening in a heated discussion with his mother,
Saying why does he have subject subjects he will never ever use in his life…
And she will look at him blank eyed, stifle a sigh, think for a second,
And then lie.
She will say something along the lines of,
“You to get a good job you need a good degree and these subjects help you get a degree.
We never had this opportunity when I was younger”
And he will reply, “but you were young a long time ago weren’t you mum?”

And she won’t respond, although what he implies makes perfect sense; that society’s needs would have changed since she was 16.
But she will ignore this, grip his hand more sternly, and drag him to the car.

But what she does know is that
She didn’t ignore him to shut up…
She didn’t lie because they are just returning him from parents evening and an argument in the hallway would look bad on her resume…
She won’t lie because she had just spent the last hour convincing a stern face teacher that she ensure that her child studies more at home…

No. She will lie simply because she was never taught better herself.
Although, all her adult life, she has never used or applied
Pythagoras’ Theorem or pathetic fallacy,
And still doesn’t know the value of x.
She will rely on society to tell her child, who has one of the sharpest minds in the school, he is “unfocused, hyperactive, easily distracted, and wayward.”

How many equations, subjects, dates did you cram into your head weeks before an exam never to use again?!

How many times have you remembered something 5 minutes after the teacher has said, “stop writing”… only to receive your results a month later to discover you were only 1 mark short of the top grade?
So, remembering it 5 minutes earlier would have instantly made you more qualified for a particular job?
On an application form it would.

We all have different ability, thought processes, experiences, and genes.
So, why is a class full of individuals tested by the same means?

That means that Cherrelle thinks she’s dumb
Because she couldn’t do a couple sums.
And if this issue is not addressed properly,
It because a self fulfilling prophecy.

Then every school has the nerve to have policy on “equality”
Huh… the irony.
Exams are society’s methods of telling what you’re worth.
Society can’t tell you what you are.
Because this is the same society that tells you abortion is wrong, but then looks down on you for being a teenage parent,
Sells products to promote natural hair, looks, and smooth complexion
But the model on the box, is half PhotoShopped,
has fake lashes and hair extensions.
Governments that preach peace…
But endorse wars.

If you believe so much in the importance of higher learning and further education,
Why then increase the tuition fees every year?
I believed Miss Jefferson when she took me into the office said
my exams would be imperative to my success.
Then I took Jefferson out of the equation, learnt to think for myself, and I realized
We were always taught to follow when misled.
Huh… the irony.

Test us with tests,
But the finals are never final
Because they never prepare us for the biggest test (which is survival).
What I suggest is fairly outlandish…
I don’t except everyone to understand this
–Except the kids that know what it feels like to be
Worth no more than that D or that A
That you receive on results day…
The ones whose best stories
Where never good enough for your English teacher.
Because apparently you: “missed key literal techniques, did not follow the class plan,
and the language was too formal” for him to understand.
But then; he’d reference Hamlet, Macbeth
And you would fight the urge to express your contempt, by partially clenching your fist with only your medius finger left protruding in the middle on your hand,
And asking if she was aware that Shakespeare was known as the innovator of slang.
Or the kid at the back of the class who thinks “why am I studying something that doesn’t fuel my drive?”
But when confronted with a math problem his eyes come alive!!
So this one is for my generation
The one’s that found what they were looking for on Google
Followed their dreams on Twitter
Pictured their future on Instagram
And accepted destiny on Facebook.

This one’s for my “failures” and “dropouts,”
for my unemployed graduates,
My shop assistants, cleaners, and cashiers with bigger dreams,
My self-employed and entrepreneurs,
My world changers and dream chasers.

Because the purpose of “Why I hate school, but love education” was not to initiate
A world wide debate but rather to let them know that
weather 72 or 88
44 or 68
We will not let an exam results
decide our fate.
~ Suli Breaks

Watoto children honor Trayvon with hauntingly beautiful music video and original song

Watoto recreates Trayvon's walk

Watoto recreates Trayvon's walkThe loving and wonderfully talented young performers from Watoto from the Nile have produced a hauntingly beautiful song they call “Warning”. In their music video, the young people follow in the wake of Trayvon’s fateful footsteps as he walks to the 7-11, singing –

… Watoto here with a Warning … right now our Nation’s in mourning. Oh Martin Family, we’re with you … I put my hoodie oh I weeping … because this case is so misleading. We come together we must care … Trayvon Martin your spirit is in all of us.

Children, you are so right, we must care. Thank you for this message, and God bless.

Racist Romney & GOP move to block the Latino & Black vote

If you think the Romney/GOP election tactics seem like a racist ploy to intentionally block Latino and Black people from voting, you’re not crazy. Spend 4 minute watching this video from Van Jones’ Rebuild the American Dream team to see the dots neatly connected. It proves that this sad fact is true. God help America.

Fight by helping everyone you know that plans to vote for a fair America and President Obama to get their identification documents ready so they can’t be turned away at the polls. Inform yourself about your rights as a voter. Write to your elected officials and urge them to fight for American justice, fairness and the upholding of the one person, one vote system. Ask them to work hard to get big money out of general elections once and for all. And vote! Remember, New Jersey and some other states allow early voting and vote by mail.