#MNR: The Souls of Black Folk
“Progression can’t be made if we’re separate forever.”
(There’s a quote of an old Drag-on bar that would be perfect for what I’m about to discuss but it would be completely insensitive)
Four days ago, a Philadelphia house fire claimed the lives of twelve individuals, including eight children. The fire took place in a Philadelphia Housing Authority home that had been converted into several apartments. The fire was “possibly” started by a Christmas tree accidently set afire. There were no working smoke detectors in the domicile, and most of the deaths were from residents on the second and third floors.
Yesterday, a #BXNYXC apartment fire resulted in the deaths of seventeen people, including eight children. 63 people were injured by smoke inhalation. The fire is suspected to have been started by a malfunctioned space heater. It is the deadliest NYC fire since the infamous 1990 Happy Land nightclub fiasco (also in the X) that killed 87 people.
I suggest researching the Happy Land incident if you are cut from a similar cloth as I. It’s a wild story. An older friend of mine frequented the spot and almost went there that night. Sheesh.
My deepest condolences go to the victims and the families in both tragedies. It pains me that eight children were lost in each inferno. They’ll never have the opportunity to experience life in its fullness. If you live in a house/building/whatever and the smoke detectors don’t work – handle that shit ASAP. Change the batteries. Call the super. Make sure that detection is possible in the event of calamity. Material possessions can be purchased again but lives cannot. And please…be EXTRA careful with space heaters. I’ve certainly used space heaters in my life, but my scary ass would rarely let one run while I was asleep. What’s bugging me out about that is the fact that space heaters were needed in the apartment building. I’ve lived in the P’s, and I’ve lived in private apartment buildings in #BXNYC. If the heat was working in housing, it was almost always on West Hell temperature, to the point that it was not unusual to come into the back room of the crib and the window be wide open in 30-degree weather. The use of space heaters definitely means that insufficient heat was an issue in the Bronx tragedy. I’m sure the building owners are upstanding and compassionate citizens (blatant sarcasm). A family living in an apartment should not have to supplement the building heat with space heaters. For the love of money…
As we began our second week of virtual learning today, I logged on this morning with the thought of a tweet I’d seen last night still smooth in the front of my mind. It came from an educator who raised some interesting points of perspective regarding cameras being on/off during virtual learning. Before I discuss the things she tweeted, I’ll speak on the camera policy in my school district. The rule is that cameras must be on for students to receive credit for attendance. Until last night, I’ve been a staunch advocate of cameras always being on, as I’d heard the harrowing stories of co-workers who had students that rarely did anything academically during the first cycle of virtual learning. I dealt with my own (small) bit of “camera on” drama with my lil man during virtual. Cameras off usually went hand-in-hand with academic ineptitude. But that sister introduced me to a new perspective. She spoke of one of her students being ashamed to cut the camera on because they were living in a homeless shelter. She spoke of a student who was one of seven living in a two-room apartment. Cyber bullying has evolved to include home shaming. Kids will incessantly pick on and shame kids who live in domiciles with poor aesthetics. She also spoke of a kid who had to sit in a car to attend class because the car had AC and the apartment did not. It was 104 degrees that day. Now, we all know that Twitter can be full of shit, gas, hyperbole, and outright lies, but these are certainly real-life dilemmas for many kids. If you’re an educator and you read this, at least do your due diligence before you excoriate a child for not having his/her camera on. You owe it to that kid.
The pandemic has really shaken the snow globe we exist in, to the point that I’m seeing television and cinematic projects rolling out that I’d damn near forgotten about because the pandemic pushed production back significantly. One of these projects happens to be the new dramatic interpretation of the iconic “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” It’s been spoken about for years, and it will finally see the light of day next month, airing on Peacock. I’ve seen mixed reactions, many positive and many negative. A lot of folk feel like it’s little more than a rip-off “All American” that is merely aired on the Peacock app. I can’t affirm that because I’ve never seen an episode of AA (I don’t fuck with Taye Diggs), but I will say that I am in favor of the reboot and look forward to seeing it. We’ve perennially glossed over the show’s premise, but Will getting run out of West Philly by some gangster-type MF (played by battle rap star Eazy the Block Captain) and fleeing to affluent Bel Air to live with his auntie, uncle, and cousins is some real dramatic shit when you really think about it. They call it dramatic; I prefer dark. I love the idea because of the contrast to its predecessor. It makes good sense. Think of Tim Burton’s interpretation of Batman compared to the cartoonish Clooney Batman era compared to the Dark Knight trilogy. You can appreciate the stark, macabre trilogy because of the cartoonish shit that preceded it, as well as the utter uniqueness of Burton’s creation (the entire Gotham City other than Wayne Manor in the first film was a SET). I’m looking forward to seeing it. I got $5 for the Peacock subscription. Shit, I need to see Season 2 of “Saved by the Bell” anyway (Season 1 is free on the app). Big ups to Nasir Jones music blessing the trailer. GOAT shit.
Seeing my cousin Klay Thompson return to the court from injury last night was a beautiful sight. Cuzzo spent 941 days away from the game, suffering both a torn ACL and Achilles back-to-back. He dropped a more than respectable 17 points in his return and caught a banger in traffic. The return of James Weisman could be the nail in the coffin for the rest of the NBA, especially considering that a potential Warriors/Nets final would mean no Kyrie in San Fran AND Brooklyn. We shall see.
That block Ja Morant got on Avery Bradley last night immediately went down in the books as one of the greatest rejections in the history of the A. Shit, basketball history for that matter. Ja is only 6’3.” His vertical is around 42” to 45.” The only comparable baller with height and vertical similarities is the great David Thompson (uncle), who stood at 6’4” with a 48” max vertical. That’s the ONLY person comparable this side of Earl Manigault’s legend. Ja is amazing. The Grizzlies have won a team record nine consecutive games. They’re 14 games over .500 and look like a certified problem for the rest of the league. I love to see it. Dominate, young King. Dominate.
I think it’s fucked up the way the Dolphins did Coach Brian Flores. I feel he deserved one more year to see his process through. But we all know how it goes for Black coaches in the NFL. I’m still waiting for Jim Caldwell to get another shot. It hurts to see my brothers disrespected the way they are. It’s time for Eric Bieniemy to get his shot. Byron Leftwich too. I’m sick of this prejudicial shit.
Congratulations to battle rap extraordinaire Danny Myers. You’re finally getting your much deserved flowers. You did your thing Saturday night (Tay Roc too). Make 2022 the year 2021 should have been for you. Salute.
That’s a wrap for this week. I’m tide (IYKYK). Peace and blessings to all. Tune in next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.
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