Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Saturday, the AT&T in Roseville, MI was visited by CoCo and others from WJLB, a popular urban radio station out of Detroit. The radio station was brought in to help bring traffic into the store where, in comparison to last year, the sales have fallen off a bit. The radio station gave away tickets to the Katt Williams New Year's Eve comedy show as well as an advanced screening of "Seven Pounds" starring Will Smith. The advanced screening will be at 7:30p Wednesday evening.
The event brought in a lot of traffic, yet the increased traffic did not transform into increased sales. The radio station also gave away two $100 gift cards as well as a new AT&T smartphone.

The afternoon was filled with fun though, where contestants had to compete in karaoke to win Katt Williams tickets. Some of the contestants could sing, but some of them were just willing to do anything to get those tickets.

CoCo definitely made the afternoon interesting and crowd was persistent while the radio station broadcast from the AT&T sales floor. However, the fact remains that the sales did not receive a major boost because of it.

It is just an obvious sign of how tough the economy is these days. Some people are losing their jobs. The others, who still have their jobs are holding on to their money in hopes of a rebounding economy. The pressures of the two allow for a decline in sales across the board, ultimately making retail jobs as tough as the auto industry. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Are today's athletes living in fear? More and more, the news of athletes being caught with guns is becoming an everyday thing. Most recently Plaxico Burress was charged with possession of a fire arm after accidentally shooting himself at a night club in Manhattan.

Athletes are not allowed to have firearms with them at the facilities in which they practice or play. This is a situation that some NFL players have said makes them feel uncomfortable. It leaves them in a situation of vulnerability, whereas criminals know there are no guns on premises and the robbery could go that much easier.

The murders of Sean Taylor and Darrent Williams initially sparked the players' unrest and doubt of their overall security. Taylor, probably the most frightening story, because the fatal shooting took place inside his home in Florida.

The high profiles of these athletes is no secret when their salaries and estimated worth are publicized on television, in print and on the internet. Should these athletes be afraid? Should these athletes be able to defend themselves? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


With the gas stations finally releasing their death grips from American wallets, shoppers have began the holiday season by spending money. A few months ago, the financial woes of America made the holiday season look bleak in the minds of retailers. Somehow, though, consumers have found a way to spend money this holiday season.

CNN reported that Black Friday brought in a total of $8.9 billion in sales. This was, overall, a 6% increase in sales from last year. These are surprising numbers. With the percentage of unemployment and home foreclosures increasing, its almost hard to believe that America has gone shopping despite the economical setbacks of today's economy.

The resurgence of the American shopper will help the overall position of the economy and hopefully get us back into a financial situation where shopping is comfortable and not a burden.

Perhaps the holiday shopping season will be the turning point in our failing economy. An upward trend in consumer purchasing will undoubtedly improve the economy, but will gas prices and unemployment percentages drop to a low enough rate to encourage consumer purchasing throughout the year? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Reflecting on those who got us here...

You know, today is a day to be thankful. In today's world economic issues, terrorism issues, education issues and any other issues you can come up with, may interfere with your ability to be thankful at all. That is when you must dig deeper.

I was thinking of all the things that I could complain about and that's when it hit me. In comparison to those who lost their lives, families and dignity to forge a lane into society in which people of color could one day prosper and take full advantage of the "American Dream", my worries are futile. So today I am thankful for Harriet Tubman. I am thankful for Frederick Douglas. I am thankful for Martin Luther King Jr. I am thankful for President Barack Obama. I am thankful for each and every one individual who gave of themselves to create a future for me and you even though the promise of seeing that future was not bestowed upon them.

With that said, I have come up with a selection of words that manifest the struggle of our people to become one with the society in which we live and the freedom from all that holds us from succeeding. Enjoy my poem and have a Happy Thanksgiving. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Eyes of Midnight

Broken, crushed, slaughtered,
Somehow saved by prayers,
The promise of golden gates
Giving way to serenity, identity.

Sunshine plays hide and seek with the moon
Every now and then going unnoticed for hours
Never revealing its hiding place.

Freedom prevails and sunshine reveals itself
One minute too late, but not soon enough
The moon readies for another game tonight.

Eager feet trust the sunshine won’t peek
Just count to ten, how many will it discover
Shadows scurry under the moon’s watch
Chasing the North Star, chasing
Life, freedom, identity, equality.

Still chasing.

-Q. Lewis

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Deal or No Deal

The country is in an obvious recession. Jobs are hard to come by and even the ones that are available are not guaranteed. Such is the case with the Big 3.

The automakers are financially strapped, due in part to the ridiculously high gas rates that had Americans traveling less as well as purchasing fewer vehicles. Amid the Wall-Street bailout, the three automakers, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, have also asked for relief from the government. However, it has not been so easy for the Big 3, as they have been turned away and asked to come back in front of congress once they have a better business plan and plan overall as to how this money will help the industry.

The congress is looking for long term goals and not just a band aid for the ailing auto industry, but the executives from each has to bring a plan that is convincing of that direction. I agree.

The executives at each of the failing automakers have been lining their pockets with outrageous salaries and bonuses that allowed each of them to fly their own private jets to the congressional hearing. Private jets. Private jets, when thousands are being forced to take buyouts and early retirement to save the sinking company. Private jets, when people with thirty years on the job are leaving these jobs with no pension or health care.

The Big 3 has to come up with an eco-friendly plan that will open up new areas of employment and keep them competitive in the global market. The auto industry is the backbone of the American manufacturing industry and must come up with innovative ideas keep that position.

With a majority of its origin being Detroit, Michigan, it is even that much more important for the Big 3 to survive. Not only must it survive, but it must thrive, in order to bring Michigan out of its financial suffering that was reminiscent of a recession long before the nation decided to call it a recession. With an unemployment rate and home foreclosure rate that rank highest in the country, Michigan’s last hope is the resurgence of the auto industry. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Last of a dying Breed

"I neva got caught wit a kilo/ and if you ever do, it neva be wit me yo!" Everybody who knows hip-hop from the early nineties and lived in Michigan knows that song like the back of their hand. Before Breed droped jewels on Too $hort's Cocktales album alongside $hort and Tupac, Breed had put Michigan on the map with "Ain't No Future in Yo Frontin".

In a smaller city about 40 miles north of Detroit, Breed had brought Flint and Michigan to the attention of the rest of America who thought that there wasn't anything but dope, prostitutes and cars being sold in the state dominated by the Motor City. Although Breed still only seemed to enjoy mild success, he aligned himself with Too $hort and Pac on several occasions, yet never really breaking into mainstream.

Famous enough, at least here in Michigan. The news of his death was shocking and thought provoking. Not yet even reaching the age of 40 and dying from kidney complications. It's always odd to hear of a younger person dying from bodily malfunctions that we normally associate with older people. Sad, but true, we witness the fall of another soldier in our culture. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Friday, November 21, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Poetic Just(us)

Today, after reflecting on life and the whole nine yesterday, I decided that I would treat my readers to some poetry. Now this is not conventional poetry. It's more like listening silently while my brain argues back and forth about something or someone I've never even heard of and telling me that every word is true, then beating it deeper into my cerebral until like a knee jerk reaction, my hand pushes the pen in motion and rhythm something like the ink of a polygraph test of a "baby daddy" who knows that....he IS the father. Enjoy...catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Dope Boys

Sometimes I forget the world exists
Caught up in another place, another dimension
Not the Twilight Zone, but close.

Bake up the pies, open up the bakery
Cakes all day, assembly line like Lucy
But none of these bitches better be eatin’ off the line!

Trappin’, hustlin’, rollin’,
Joints and blunts serenade nerves to sleep
Waking from the demands of the job.

Where am I? Who am I? What the hell is going on?
If you don’t know, I certainly have no clue
Mind still conjuring meaningless answers

The block loves me like no family of mine
Owe it my life, your life, anyone’s life to satisfy
The block. Don’t flip me like Brutus—

Caesar I feel your pain.

After years of loyalty, betrayed by the streets that raised
My eyebrows mangled by fear and anger resting on my face
The world is mine today, until she decides I’m no longer worthy of her glance.

By : Quincy L. Lewis

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FLIPSIDE -- Just chillin'

I'm taking a mental day today. Nothing in the news really got me amped enough to write about anything today so I decided perhaps I'd just relax today and reflect on life. there are so many trivial things that can make life so demanding, yet the essence of it all is neither disturbed or even affected by these trivial things.

So, for a moment, I let my mind relax and retreat from the battles of everyday anxieties. The battles that keep you awake at night for so long that you sleep during the day when you're supposed to be awake.

I set those aside for today...Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Good ol' public schools

I met a lady today who was a retired teacher from the Detroit Public School district. She was talking about her bills and how she had to stay ahead of them because as a retiree her money was limited. That's understandable, once you retire, you become a little more frugal with money considering that there is a substantial fall off of income after retirement. This retired teacher's story was a little different.

She had retired, but then had to take on a job as a substitute teacher. She explained that this position made considerably less than she made as a full time teacher, but it was the only way she was going to be able to keep her medical benefits. She went on to tell how the last contract that the teachers signed, didn't allow for the continuing of their health benefits post retirement.

Now she says she is substitute teaching and not only is it making less money, but there is also no income over the summer for the retired DPS teacher. Despite her hardships, though, it remained obvious that she still loved the children of Detroit. Throughout her gripes about how the school system was being ran, she kept going back to one thing and that was how the children are the ones who suffer from the whole mess.

I don't think they make many teachers like that anymore. With hardships and issues of her own, she is still one hundred percent in it for the sake of our children's education. I would love to tell all who reads this, who it is exactly that I speak of, but since we were just having idle conversation, she was obviously unaware that I might write about her the same evening. I will say this, if you are anywhere near Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit and you mention this story, you may get to meet the spirited retired teacher that inspired this piece. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FLIPSIDE - The Holiday Spirit

We just had our first snow fall in Michigan yesterday and even though it didn't stick to the ground very long, the winter has shown her presence and along with winter comes the holidays.

First it'll be thanksgiving, then Christmas, then quickly after that, we bid adieu to another year that passed by so fast that we can't remember at all what happened. Other than Obama being elected president of the United States of course. If nothing else, people will remember that about good old 2008. With the holidays and snowy weather we begin to finally come together as a family, while we spent so much of the rest of the year doing our own thing and trying to stay afloat in this tired economy.

It is also a time when we remember those who will not be around to share these holiday moments. Those who are no longer living, those who are out fighting for Democracy in other parts of the world and simply those who just are not a part of our lives anymore. Its easy to become sad when thinking of these individuals, especially during this time of the year.

But why do what's easy? Instead of being down, just think of the good times that made that person so enjoyable to be around. Think of old holiday stories involving them that make you laugh so hard that your side hurts. Those are the things that help us make it through the holidays when there is just that person missing from the equation that normally makes your holiday complete. Enjoy this holiday season. Embrace this holiday season. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Monday, November 17, 2008


About a year after the Jena 6 incident in Louisiana took place, we have seen history take place right before our eyes. The election of America's first black president was quite a historical boundary for black people. With that said, it is almost odd to believe that the Jena 6 situation was only a year ago and still to this day the fact that any of the violence was motivated by racism rests solely on the shoulders of the Jena 4 and not those who hung nooses in a school yard.

Even in retrospect, the white citizens of Jena suggest that there was no racial motivation behind the hanging of nooses from a tree on the school's yard. An editor from the town's newspaper even suggests that most of the media's accusations about the incident were false and broke them down into myths. This is just one of what Jena Times assistant editor, Craig Franklin referred to as myths during an interview with The Christian Science Monitor taken directly from the published article. -

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school
officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the
placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to
expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at
students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white
aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo
team. (The
students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of
"Lonesome Dove.") The
committee further concluded that the three young teens
had no knowledge that
nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings
of countless blacks in
American history. When informed of this history by
school officials, they became
visibly remorseful because they had many black
friends. Another myth concerns
their punishment, which was not a three-day
suspension, but rather nine days at
an alternative facility followed by two
weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday
detentions, attendance at Discipline
Court, and evaluation by licensed
mental-health professionals. The students
who hung the nooses have not publicly
come forward to give their version of
events. -

What? If that is true, then what are these students learning about history. If these students don't know the the racially intimidating image of a noose hanging from a tree, then there is a lot more than racism that is an issue at this school. I find it had to believe that none of the students in on the so-called prank had no idea that a noose hanging from a tree could possibly be offensive to black students - black students who supposedly have so many white friends.

Get real. If the prank was merely a joke for some rodeo team, then where were the cows? Isn't the rodeo team supposed to rope calves or something, or do they hang them from trees now? And what part of rural America has a rodeo team anyway? Too many questions and not enough answers that make me believe that Jena is a little racist place in the corner of America where places like this still exist. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

FLIPSIDE - Before the Presidency

With the election being done over two weeks ago, the anticipation and hostility that mounted among probable voters was atounding. Somehow, economic plans and healthcare had taken a back seat to whether a candidate was black or white. Some sort of confusion and nonsense has even lead to the disbelief that Senator Obama is even American.
Personally, I had planned to vote for Obama because of his stance on putting a time table on the exit strategy to bring our troops home from Iraq. I also agree with his economic philosophy, which could relieve some of the pressure off of the middle class tax payer and essentially allow us to contribute money back into the economy. I never intended to vote for McCain. Mainly, because I don’t agree with his stance on any of the issues I spoke of earlier. But, my decision to not vote for him is certainly not because he doesn’t share the same skin color as I, which is oddly why some people are not voting for Obama.

A few years ago, before the last election, Colin Powell thought about running for president. Guess what? I wasn’t going to vote for him. He is black though, but his race was not my motivation in electing a commander in chief, neither is it the motivation this time around. Unfortunately, for others, that is not the case.

The AP released the news about a plot to kill 88 people. The two people arrested were referred to as “Neo Nazis.” The final attack was to attempt to assassinate Barack Obama. The two in custody also claimed that they were going to shoot some of the victims while decapitating others on their cross-country killing spree.

Unbelievable. Obama hasn’t even been elected and plots to get rid of him are already in place. Some readers may think that because I am a Obama/Biden ticket supporter, that I’m embellishing the racial divide that does indeed exist. After reading the story of assassination plot online, I decided to read some of the reactions and instead of paraphrasing, I copied them (unedited) exactly as they appeared so you could experience what I did.

Lovelanddon 10:08 PMOct 28 2008 We all know how blacks react to news they
don't like . They burn down their neighborhoods , then cry that the Government
isn't builing it back fast enough >

Fatboyjoe1956 10:09 PMOct 28 2008 McCain
and Palin......John and Sarah.....The White House WILL remain a white house
forever. Say what you want and do what you want people. This country will NEVER
elect someone like obama. I admit despising what Muslims stand for, and that
obama was chosen. VOTE.....McCain and Palin.....The ONLY Americans who admit
it......and are PROUD of it......

Mylabrookie 10:13 PMOct 28 2008 I HATE OBAMA
Jetecamy 10:14 PMOct 28 2008 This assassination attempt is a big sign how
dangerous Obama is. Although, I do not believe in murder, it is better to take
one life and save a nation.

I wonder if all these postings sound so vicious and deliberate because the identities of the writers are hidden. It is hard to believe that someone would say things like this outside the confines of their computers. It is distasteful and down right disturbing that the image of blacks in America is still so downtrodden that weak racists can hide behind anonymous Internet user names and try to make a mockery of our next president of the United States of America. Catch ya on the FLIPSIDE.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

FLIPSIDE - One black man into office and one ousted...

Almost three hours after the court hearing started, Kwame Kilpatrick had officially been sentenced to his 120 day stay at the Wayne county jail downtown Detroit. The lawyers argued back and forth, but to no avail, the mayor received the sentence that was prepared for him when he optioned to take a deal a couple months back.

With his signature smug arrogance, Kilpatrick seemed to be a man not on his way to prison, but a man who was going to be exonerated of all charges. In the beginning, even his wife joined in on a few chuckles and everything seemed to be just fine.

While Kilpatrick awaited his sentencing, lawyers from the City of Detroit argued that the firing of police officers and perjury were reasons why the sentence should be upheld, even though the court had received 19 letters asking for leniency on Kilpatrick’s sentence. Still, the firing of police officers and lying in court about an extra-marital affair don’t equate. The prior has yet to even be proven.

After apologizing to Detroiters and his wife for his extra-marital affairs and the perjury charges that subsequently followed, the mayor finds himself in a Wayne County Jail cell for 23 hours a day. The lone hour of recreation for the mayor is still an hour of solitude, whereas he is not allowed on the yard with the general population.

The small cell allows for a television, a phone for collect calls only, a toilet, shower and a view of the city he once lead. Visitation is limited and unless his lawyers argue otherwise, his children will not be able to visit during the 120 days.

I applaud the mayor for taking his punishment without bowing to the pressure of being a powerful black male in the public eye. I do, however, believe the punishment to be outlandish and over bearing for the situation, but then again, I’m no politician or criminal. Just a black man in Detroit. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Friday marks the end of the work week. The beginning of the weekend. The last day before two days of rest and relaxation. For some it is the end of a school week. A school week that was detrimental to a certain nine students in Arkansas back in 1957.

I was talking with my nephew last night who is a freshman in high school and he was just talking about how bad things were for black people in the past. He mentioned that his class was watching a documentary about the first black students to attend an all-white high school in Little Rock Arkansas. I'm glad he saw that film.

I am also glad he feels the way he does about the injustices done unto our black communities. This younger generation needs to be more in touch with the issues of the past in order to really appreciate that there are so many black business owners. In order to see the importance of an education. In order to see the importance of America voting in its very first black man as president.

Understanding the struggles of the past makes the things that are going on around you more relevant. You think its nothing that Jay Z can sellout a concert at Madison Square Garden, but you can appreciate it more when you realize that less than 70 years ago, he would not have even been allowed to enter the front doors of the Garden to even see a show. We are only one generation away from segregation.

After talking with him I was happy he had learned something about history. I was also happy that he sees the importance of the small things that we take for granted. The things that our last generation fought and sometimes lost their lives trying to get for us as a community. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


An industry that brought most African American families from the impoverished and racist region of the south, is losing its grip as a national powerhouse. These days the auto industry has taken a page from Wall Street and wants help from the government to get out from under the financial strain in which it has been under for the last few years. Gas prices obviously did not help the industry. Even though the gas prices have subsided, consumers are still hesitant to spend their money at a new car lot.

The question is now, does the government help the auto industry. Of course here in Michigan, we think it is obvious that some sort of aid is needed, but that's solely because our state's economy depends the strength of the automobile industry.

The Big 3 auto executives are set to meet members of congress as well as members of Obama's economic advisory board, but will they prevail. Unfortunately, the fate of the state as well as the city hangs in the balance as the industry that made the city struggles to stay afloat.

The major concern is that the top executives continue to receive bonuses and high salaries when the companies they are running are turning over drastically lower profits the last three quarters. However, plants and jobs continue to be terminated in an effort to compensate for quarterly losses. Who'd have ever thought that an industry that brought together people from all walks of life to Detroit making more money than they thought was possible would someday become a business with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I was listening to the radio this afternoon, on one of my rare days off, and the topic of discussion on this particular station was education, or lack there of, in relation to young African American men. The guest speaker was commenting on the extra effort that needs to be exerted to decrease the number of young black men who, by his account, make up just about 80% of America’s special education population. Of course 80% sounds like a ridiculously high number, but it may be more accurate than you think.

The guest speaker, who had developed an organization dedicated to the education of young black males, said that these students need to be intrigued by the school - work. Then he added that once their attention has been grabbed, then that is when they will be willing to learn. I can understand that, but at the same time the educational system and the parents who send their children there tend to boggle my mind.

I completely understand the idea that if something is relatable it is far easier to understand and learn new things, but at the same time—what is going on?

When I went to school, it was boring. I was 15 or 16 and would much rather be trying to see what “Keisha” was doing after school than figure out how many oxygen molecules were in hydrochloric acid. That was my idea of school, but nevertheless, I tread the waters of diversity and came out with a high school diploma. Through those years I made it through school and the lesson plans never changed. The teachers never entertained us, or related any of the material to the world I lived every day when I left the confines of King High School and went back to my eastside neighborhood. When are parent going to take a role in this?

I pushed through school because my mom enforced the benefits of an education from day one. She had made me realize that school may be tough and may not seem as though it has anything to offer me, but in the end, it would be more valuable than I would ever know. Parent involvement in a student’s life is not an option. It is definitely not an opportunity for a parent to shift all the blame and initiative to the school.

There was no Beowulf in my neighborhood. I couldn’t realistically answer a story problem about leaving a tip for a waitress at a high - end restaurant when I was more accustomed to ordering take-out at Zorba’s Coney Island where we didn’t even leave a tip. None of the schoolwork seemed to involve me or my neighborhood, but the words and urgings of my mother were what pushed me through. She always would focus on the benefits of having an education. She set my view for the future, not just the daily task at hand. Her involvement is what pushed both my sister and I to get an education.

I suppose that I am just a little annoyed with the idea that our generation, our race, our society has come to a point where we have to have extra attention in order to stay focused and receive the education that years of fighting, both politically and physically, has given us the opportunity in which to take advantage. Instead of relating the scholastic material to what I’m used to on Six Mile and Hoover, let my parents instill the value of an education within me, then let that scholastic information take me to places I’d never think I would be able to go. I know Six Mile and Hoover and I also knew that my education would be the key to unlock the rest of the world for my exploration.

I wonder of that 80% of special education students, who today’s special guest reported to be young black males, what percentage of those parents and family members have been active in encouraging education as well as participating in the child’s education. If that percentage rises, there is no doubt in my mind that the 80% number will decline. An education is supposed to get me off the block, not remind me of it everyday. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


After 5 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds, I was finally handed a ballot. A ballot that could possibly change my life and the lives of millions of other Americans who took part in electing a new president some seven days ago. Emerging from the voting booth with ballot in hand, I couldn't do anything but smile. I was a part of history. A part of the struggle. The struggle that our elders find hard to forget. The struggle that small children might not yet understand.

Later on that night, I watched the ballot counting along with my family and most of America while complaining about how tired my feet were for standing so long earlier in the day trying to vote. Suddenly after a quick commercial a full screen shot of Obama was being shown as the winner of this year's election. With total disregard to my aching feet I jumped up and hugged my crying mother. She cried tears of joy as did most of the people who were being shown on television.

The tears were for joy of the promise of a new day. The tears were also for all of the ones who were detrimental to the movement of civil rights who lost their lives and freedom to ensure that we would be able to see something like this happen in our lifetime. You can honestly look your child in the eyes and tell him that he really can be anything he wants to be in life.

At that moment I wished my grandparents were still alive. My grandfather who risked his life in World War II, only to come home to no job, no rights and a life full of discrimination and racism. A grandmother who used rear entrances and sat in the back of restaurants because blacks weren't allowed up front. This election was for them and those four little girls in that church in Birmingham who didn't even have a chance to live life. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Hope -- Guest Writer : Ms. G.J. Lewis

World of Wealth

As I look out my window this morning, I see awesome beauty
I feel renewed strength but also renewed sense of duty
On the cusp of the victory that many fought to see
It is time for us all to be “a brand new me”

Our first African-American President, “WOW” is all I can say
I’m sure that many of us never thought we would see this day
Outside my window, there is a rainbow of colors
A sign, a revelation it’s time to unify all sisters and brothers

Black, white, Asian, Latino and more
No longer do I see a closed door
“The world is our oyster” we can do anything
“Change” for the good, this victory will surely bring

The river is flowing, a calm, serene shade of blue
In this life, we must also flow calmly in all we say and do
The sky is a mixture of blue, red and gold
Another sign of all that we have, all that is ours to hold

Again, “WOW” is all that I seem to be able to say
As I prepare myself to begin this wonderful day
We hold a “World of Wealth” in so many, many ways
And it is time for our wealth to be shown, to be displayed

Several journalist are asking; “What do we do now?”
The answer is simple, live the best that we know how
Dig deep within and exhibit what we all are made of
And that is our “World of Wealth” our God given Love

We as a people and also as individuals in this life
Are slowly being freed from a world of hatred and strife
The word of God tells us that this world will be ruled by brown skin
We can make a difference by embracing each other with the love we have within

Brothers, cling to your wives, in life, “Do the right thing”
Be a good example to the children into this life you bring
Sisters, although many have been left to do things alone
Do it with pride and dignity, God made us strong

It is time to go back to “the old time way”
And when we see things that are wrong, “speak up! Speak out” without delay
“It takes a whole village to raise a child” many of us were raised like this
From today’s society, this is an important factor today’s kids miss

We say we are proud, we love our new president-elect
The proof is in the pudding, for us all, this is a great test
Who is really willing to stand up? Who is willing to stand?
Who will walk in unity with Barack to change this land?

It is not hard, just reach deep within your heart
We all know right from wrong and have known from the start
When you see or hear these young ladies and these young men
Cursing, dressing inappropriately, acting out, speak out
Speak firm, not mean, let them know their wrongs and leave no doubt

Push education, that’s another right thing to do
Remember how our parents and neighbors pushed you
When we did wrong we got spanked from one end of the block and again when we got home
But I bet we thought two or three times before again we would do wrong

Tune into your spirituality, pray and never cease
Silence the violence and increase the peace
We can change this world, Yes we will “Yes we can”
We hold a “World of Wealth” divided we fall but “together” we “Stand”

Written By:

Copyrights owned by: “FLIPSIDE INK”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


On Sunday, September 28th, Obama and Biden held a rally in downtown Detroit and luckily I was able to be a part of it. Normally I am working on Sundays, but this week I was off and even though I wanted to get some rest that day, I motivated myself to go. It’s almost a shame that I had to motivate myself to join in on what is already an event with major historical implications. With that in mind, I headed downtown to be a part of history.

Once I was there, I could hardly believe the amount of people who were attending. The parking wasn’t too bad, but the walk from those parking spots made me rethink rather getting a glimpse at the future was suffice to have my neck beaten upon severely by the sun. Nevertheless, I was determined.

After bending the corner from behind the DIA building, I was greeted by Obama buttons, tees and even photos. The crowd stirred about anxiously, waiting on Obama, with the sun determined to send people packing. Oddly enough though, no one was complaining.

Finally, Obama took the stage and the estimated crowd of over 30,000 went crazy. Obama started his speech welcoming Detroit and kept the audience alive with some jokes about himself. Then he went into it. He touched on the economic situation as well as education, the two most vital components in determining whether a middle-class citizen fails or succeeds.

“Even if you can’t own a business, then maybe your son or daughter can.” Obama said. “Even if you’re from a small village, then maybe your son could be running for President of the United States.”

Simply put, Obama and his administration are pushing for a system that will allow for the dream of America to once again be tangible and that American dream cannot and will not be tangible without the middle and working-class citizens that the Obama administration is fighting to return a voice to.

After the rally was over and Woodward began to look like a street again as opposed stadium seating, I gathered my things with a new sense of hope. A feeling that perhaps the government may actually represent the communities that it governs - this time around. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Seven years ago, the United States saw the twin towers in New York be destroyed by two kamikaze airplanes. Those planes had been taken over by Al Qaeda terrorists whose main purpose in life was to complete this mission. When those towers went down, so did the pride of America. What went up, instead, was our guard. We were now aware that terrorist attacks were not just something that happens in foreign countries - they can happen right here.

Immediately following 9/11, America went through a healing process that surprised even ourselves. For once, we were Americans. We helped one another, regardless of race, class or education. For that healing time, we were all equal - all Americans. To be honest, that felt good. For a little while I put my struggles of racism and inequalities behind me and finally felt what it was really like to be American. I was proud.

Then four years later, we had forgotten. The waters from Katrina's fearsome rains had left most of New Orleans under water. The government in return, left most of New Orleans impoverished communities to fend for themselves while gathering atop roof tops to avoid the water that had turned the 9th ward into a swamp as high as a two level building. Four years prior, we were all Americans, but today we were divided once again as President Bush flew over the disaster area without stopping to reassure those Americans that help was on the way. Perhaps that's because help wasn't on the way.

Who knows why Bush didn't land in New Orleans? Who knows why there are still houses in the ninth ward outfitted with large red X's on them from when the aftermath was being searched for remains of poor folks who didn't escape before Katrina washed them away three years ago? Who knows why some of the 9th ward looks like the water just receded yesterday and clean-up efforts won't begin until next week? Seven years later we have forgotten. Even though, on many monuments throughout New York we vowed never to do as such. We Will Never Forget. Remember 9/11. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Friday, August 15, 2008


In my community it seems to be something missing. When I go to the hair supply stores I am greeted by Asian workers. When I go to buy gas I am greeted by Arabic owners. When I drop my sister off to get her hair braided, she is greeted at the door by African braiders. How is it that so many other nationalities are able to come to America and find there niche in an economic system that has held us down for so long?

While visiting my brother last week, we began to elaborate on this topic. He brought up an interesting point. That point was that somewhere along the lines of finding our place in American society we left behind the importance of family and togetherness. Other nationalities tend to be more successful because they share amongst themselves and are helpful to each other. That is truly a concept lost in our culture that needs to be found in order to have any kind of success in the future.

When you look at the businesses that are ran by other nationalities, you will notice that most if not all, are family ran businesses. People in the black community have lost the importance of family, but we need to address this issue soon and bring back the strength to our communities. Of course, this is easier said than done, but recognition of the issue is at least a start.

While growing up in a society where legal systems and educational systems fail at such a rate that the black community is almost guaranteed to fail – it is these family values that can help us through the barriers and beyond the expectations of society. At some point we have to stray away from the crabs in a bucket mentality. Don’t you know how many slaves would not have escaped if Sojourner Truth decided that she wasn’t going to help anybody else? It’s time to get back to basics. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nigger. That was supposed to be the title of Nas’ last album. Maybe a little too much for America, especially since the word was apparently buried some months back. How odd? Why wasn’t it buried when we picked cotton from the acres of plantations that built the basis of America’s economical structure? Why wasn’t it banned when we wanted to de-segregate schools? Why wasn’t it being erased from existence when it was being hurled at us like spit from some old white man’s mouth?

Nigger. Now that we have taken a word that once demeaned a whole race of people and flipped it to our own dialect and meaning – now it needs to be buried? At a time when we have decided that the power and offensiveness has been taken away from the word and now use it as our own. Don’t bury it now. Its mine, I won’t give it up.

Nigger. Some people think it’s ridiculous. Some people think that the use of this word should bring shame and insult to its users. I disagree. We diffused the energy of the word, so why not use it in our own way. So often we were beaten over our heads with it, our women raped with it, our families torn apart with it – so now its ours and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything else taken from us. Hasn’t enough been taken away from us already?

Nigger. Then you have some of us jumping on the bandwagon, screaming at my hip-hop generation and begging us to stop using a word that once empowered an elite group. Now that elite group has lost the power of that word and they urge us to put it to rest.
Nigger. After listening to Nas’ new album, I was amazed. This was the most articulate, motivational, conscious album I’d heard in a long time. Ultimately, it makes me think. It makes me think of the state of our society today. Racism all around, black people living with a vale over their eyes claiming that racism is dead, America buying all the hip-hop music and supporting the culture while laws are in place to make sure all those habits land you in jail or in an early grave.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Just browsing through the newspaper this evening - online of course(does anybody still read the physical paper?)- Anyway, I was reading a story about Obama and Hilary making public appearances and seemingly putting their differences behind them. I figure they may as well, so that the democratic voters won't be so split. I have been a democratic voter since I cast a vote to send Bill into the White house the first time and will continue to be until I have been convinced that the republican party has any interest in today's middle class African American. Much to my dismay, there are voters who seem to base the election more on race and religion than on politics and economy.

After I read the story, I read the comments from the readers below it. I was somewhat astounded. I saw comments that said it is only because of white guilt that Obama is getting the votes he has thus far. Other comments were attacking his religion-questioning whether he really is a christian or not. Didn't the church and government break ties long time ago? Hasn't society been begging us as black people to stop crying about race issues in America, yet white people have began to use it more than we do now that a black man could potentially be the next leader of our country? As I write this blog, I figure it may sound something like a rant, but to see so many comments like those on one page makes me realize how far we as blacks in America have come and how far we still need to go to get to an even playing field.

Not so many years ago, I suppose it would have been unheard of to even have a black man in this close of a position, or even being a serious contender for the Oval Office. Even with this great opportunity though, comes the proof that we are not yet equal. Most voters who are against Obama are against him because they don't want to see a black man as president--that is my assumption. This is my assumption because who would in their right minds vote for a third Bush administration, which would pretty much be the case if McCain gets in office. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Monday, June 9, 2008


About ten years ago there was a young man from Pontiac, MI that gained national attention after shooting and killing a Pontiac man at the age of 11. After conviction, then 11 year old Nathaniel Abraham, was sentenced to a facility until the age of 21 at which time he would then be under house arrest for some period of time afterward.

Those 10 years have come and gone and Abraham was set free earlier this year. Most people in his community rallied around him for support and guidance in hopes that this troubled young man would get his life on track, perhaps proving that one can be rehabilitated in such a facility as he had been apart of for the last 10 years. Now, in regret to all his supporters, Abraham has been arrested in connection to some alleged drug charges and probation issues.

Now, I am not in anyway, taking up for or excusing Abraham for his actions because he is an adult and in full control of good and bad decision making. I will, however, say that spending most of your developmental years behind the walls of a facility, then being injected back into a community that struggles to fight crime, poverty, and education issues does somewhat put you into cycle that is hard to be broken.

What Abraham needs is for his supporters to remain supportive and not turn their backs to him and rely on a judicial system that has pretty much slapped us as black people in the face since slave auctions were legal and our ancestors were sold off like tools. With all of that said, I don't want it to seem as though I condone his actions, but I do however empathize with his situation.

I suppose a comment made by a reader in respect to the article on Abraham in a recent Detroit Free Press almost made me shiver. Perhaps I had taken it the wrong way, but I became offended immediately and it urged me to write this piece. This is the comment in question-eewally wrote on freep.com-

It's high time to start putting bullets in these people's heads. We
can't afford rehab anymore. Its not working. Too many thugs that
just love the free food, shelter and camaraderie. It's time to
start culling the gene pool.

Start culling the gene pool? I wonder if Nathaniel Abraham had been white and premeditated an assault on a school with shotguns that left many wounded and some dead - would we still be talking about culling the gene pool? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


My collection of short stories and poems is going to be titled "Off the Block". The title has a few meanings for me. The first is to pay homage to Langston Hughes, who is one of my favorite writers. He had a collection of poems called "The Block". So, in turn, this title is in homage to his work. Another meaning for the title is just a reference to my neighborhood. My Block. Writing is my avenue away from the block, while that same block inspires most of my writing. The book will be available for all to enjoy by mid July, but until then I will leak one final poem from my collection.....Hope you enjoy..catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Broken, crushed, slaughtered,
Somehow saved by prayers,
The promise of golden gates
Giving way to serenity, identity.

Sunshine plays hide and seek with the moon
Every now and then going unnoticed for hours
Never revealing its hiding place.

Freedom prevails and sunshine reveals itself
One minute too late, but not soon enough
The moon readies for another game tonight.

Eager feet trust the sunshine won’t peek
Just count to ten, how many will it discover
Shadows scurry under the moon’s watch
Chasing the North Star, chasing
Life, freedom, identity, equality.

Still chasing

Thursday, May 15, 2008


As I near the completion of my book of poems and short stories, I will leak one of the poems that I have included in the book. Take a look at the poem, let me know what you think afterwards. Please your valued opinions are needed. The poetic device in most of my work is a combination of Harlem Renaissance and early 20th century British Literature. Pretty much what that means is you'll hear some Wordsworth, Blake and Hardy, but sprinkled with Hughes, Morrison, and Baldwin....enjoy.

Uptown on the #2

The dreary day has diminished. My eyes have been set free to roam another day, another scenery, and another lifetime. Shutting the steel door behind me, I know that my love will be at the train station to welcome me home. The tracks spark and scream bloody murder as the wheels burn them trying to stop and throw momma from the train.

Good evening miss. Oh, maybe you didn’t hear me, I hear the baby screaming, the snoring intern tired from making coffee and donut runs all morning. I should probably speak loud so that you can hear me. Good evening miss! Never mind. My woman’s gonna be waiting for me anyway, at my stop. I’m going back to Harlem, 135th and Lennox. That’s my stop. You know where that is? Hello. Okay, I’m tired of being nice. I’m done speaking with you lady. You can forget about those tickets to the Apollo. That’s right up the street on 125th and we ain’t gotta go in through the back door like we used to either. We comin’ up baby!

Nothin’ like the ol’ #2 train runnin’ uptown, huh? Oh yeah, I forgot you wasn’t talkin’ to me. I bet if my man Langston was here, you’d talk to him. You sisters are soft on those light skinned cats. Me and my man James can’t get no love. You know James right? The cat who graduated from that school of arts and wrote that book. Something about tellin’ on the mountain or some jazz like that.

The doors flung themselves open and tossed people out all the while sucking others in. The commotion awoke the gray-haired short woman with the young child attached to her arm.

This our stop granny. Were you dreaming about granddad again? I know you miss him. I miss him too.

Friday, May 9, 2008


In the shadow of a national report that put Detroit on the very bottom of the list that calculated the percentage of our inner-city youths who finish high school with a diploma, there is yet another matter at hand that must be corrected. While I believe parental involvement will increase the student’s chances of getting through high school and earning a diploma, the involvement should not end there.

As I said once before, a diploma gets you a little advantage in the workforce, but what else does a high school graduate have to do in order to find a slot in an economy that is always looking for ways to cut back?

One thing I notice about young men in our city who have earned degrees from high school is that after completing that goal, they seem to be unprepared for the next level. That next level may be college or that next level may be entering the workforce. Whichever the case, young inner-city men seem to lack the direction or preparation necessary for making that transition.

A friend and I were standing outside my house a few days ago when we were approached by a young man who was dressed in slacks, a dress shirt and tie. On his way to some local businesses in the area, he stopped to ask us if we knew of anyone who was hiring. In response I told him there are a few places that are hiring, but they were either accepting applications online or only accepting resumes in person. He said he did not have access to a computer, nor did he have a resume. Surprised by his lack of preparation, I offered him the phone number of a friend who is a teacher who could help him build a resume as well as assist him with filling out online applications. He thanked me and went on about his way.

It is then when I thought that perhaps someone did teach him the value of an education and how important it is to at least finish high school, but nobody bothered to tell him what to do after that. That is an issue with our inner-city youth, especially the males. The lack of preparation is not the only thing that has to be addressed though. The lack of self-confidence is an issue as well.

The two major indicators of this lack of self-confidence are poor eye contact and soft handshakes. When interviewing or just conversing with potential employers, these two things are vital. They are also things that need to be discussed by parents. Maintain good eye contact throughout the conversation and learn to give firm handshakes.

I know it was hard enough getting Junior through high school, but you want to make sure he knows what to do once he leaves the classroom and enters the boardroom. For more information and resources take a look at this website: www.detroitparentnetwork.org or contact Shane Bernardo at sbernardo@detroitparentnetwork.org. Let’s get our youth out of high school with the knowledge and confidence to make it into the future. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Urban cities are already getting a bad rap with all of the drugs and crime, now topping the list is our failure to finish high school. In a national report a few weeks ago, percentages of high school graduation in large cities were dismal especially in Detroit. The percentage was 25 percent, meaning that 75 percent didn't finish school at all.

Officials claim that those numbers may be lessened by students who transfer out of the city's school system, those who are deceased, or even the mothers who sometimes finish at alternative schools due to their pregnancy. Are those supposed to be legitimate excuses to why the numbers are so low? Those just sound like more issues plaguing our inner-city youth. What's surprising is that parents continue to point fingers at the public school system when they have not done anything to help improve it.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those
who prepare for it today”

The bottom line is that we, as African Americans, have got to play a bigger role in our children's education. We cannot expect to send them off as children into the public school system with no guidance and expect them to return home as young adults. As a parent you should know your child's school schedule. You sould be comfortable with the fact that if you show up to her school during third period, you know what class she should be in at that time. Participate in your child's school functions, get to know their teachers. Educating today's youth is a team effort, we can no longer stand by and point fingers at a system that is failing largely because of our lack of participation and involvement.

The education of our upcoming generation is vital. Gone are the days of manual labor. Gone are the days of the automotive industry. Gone are the days of low tech. Even fast food jobs require some kind of familiarity with computers. There is no way around it. The important and most difficult part is getting the youth of today to realize just how important an education is, regardless of what they plan to be as an adult. No matter how difficult it is though, you as a parent are responsible for making it happen. Nobody said being a parent would be easy. Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE

Monday, April 7, 2008


Flipping through the pages of the Detroit Free Press, I noticed an article about Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick giving away construction contracts to a friend of his. Along the side I saw a small story about a rally that was held by one of the city council members on Saturday to support the council's request for the mayor to step down. To make this event even more laughable, the title of the rally was "Healing Detroit". A few metro Detroit ministers even found time to record an episode of FlashPoint where they expressed their discontent wit Mayor Kilpatrick. I can't do anything but laugh.

Everyone who oppose of the Mayor claim that his resignation is vital to allow the city to move on and grow. Many will claim that the whole fiasco is giving the city of Detroit a black eye and this is why he must go. I am a supporter of moving the city forward and just happen to be a supporter of the Mayor. With that said, I believe moving the city forward and fixing the issues that have ailed us for years should be the number one focus. While those who beg for the Mayor's resignation claim to agree, who is actually focusing on the city's rebound?

I'm not really concerned about the Mayor, his affair, some outrageous party, the unsolved murder of an exotic dancer, or the firing of some police officers. I am not concerned one bit. I'm not concerned because the case is in court now, yet somehow it is still more important to the advancement of this city as it carries every news headline and every newspaper. Now that the courts can figure out this mess let's get focused for real.

How can the newspapers' lead story still be about Kilpatrick when Detroit has the highest rate of home foreclosures in the country? How can the news shows' top story be about Kilpatrick when Detroit only graduates 25 percent of its students? How can a city council member have a rally and call it "Healing Detroit" and the main topic wasn't about how to fix our education problems or unemployment issues with the decline of the auto industry? Who's really interested in the advancement of my city? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I'm sitting here in front of my computer staring into the screen as if at some point it is going to give me an interesting story to tell. The headphones are pinching my ears as the media player spits out random tunes into my head where I seem to have no ideas for this blog. Then the next track plays and it is a cut off of Erykah Badu's new joint called "That Hump". Eryka sang to my soul tonight.

The lyrics go this way --
"Lord knows/Lord knows I'm trying/Say that I'm tired of this dope/But it make
it better/But it's dragging me lower and I know it/Lord knows/but if I could get
over that hump/Then maybe I will feel better maybe I won't"

"Say that I'm tired of this dope". I had to rewind this song several times. The words are so true. Replace the word dope with whatever your issue is and their is your life singing out of these headphones. Everyone has a hump in life that they need to get over. Whether it be emotional, financial, physical or mental, we all face that hump everyday.

Every now and then the pressure of the world seems to suffocate us and bring down our spirit. I suppose life would be too easy if not for the existence of this pressure, but how do you escape? Especially when the hand you've been dealt is not necessarily a winning hand in the first place.

Writing is my answer. It is the only talent I possess that allows for relief from the world's pressure and help me get over that hump. What's yours? Catch ya' on the FLIPSIDE.