Archive | April, 2008

Rev. Wright’s speech: unifying or divisive?

29 Apr

Watch this speech: Rev. Wright Speech at NAACP

Despite your views on Rev. Jeremiah Wright, despite your political stance, despite your personal like or dislike of Wright’s religious or political views, one has to admit that his speech last night at the NAACP dinner delivered one, if not many powerful messages. Both directly and indirectly.

Wright’s speech attempted to illustrate the need for change, by revisiting the past, and illustrating what Blacks have endured, and have had to systematically overcome. To do this, he used the ‘writing for the ear techniques’ (rule of 3, repetition, anaphora, imagery, metaphor, hyperbole, balanced phrase) to grab your attention and give a very descriptive history lesson on Black history in America. Wright’s tactics definitely are memorable, and aim to entertain.

To get his point across, he sings classical, jazz, gospel, even beat-boxes at one point, he references and cites ALL Faiths, noted educators, linguists, and accounts in recent political history. His highly animated dancing, acting, yelling, joking around and sharp sarcastic remarks all work together to deliver quite a profound performance, despite how obvious the messages may be.

But…he’s been criticized for being divisive, among other things. And I think it’s worth examining. I mean, how can you honestly get away with saying, in the 21st Century, that “Black people learn differently from White people.” I take personal offense to that one. If that’s not divisive I don’t know what is. And the term “yellow” offends me too. Don’t use it again, Wright.

His his various bold and offensive remarks, may or may not detract from the overall tone of his speech, that’s for the individual to decide. However, I can honestly say that his reinforced key phrase, “Different, not deficient,” and the main theme, “I believe a change is going to come…” is still relevant and still very much needed in Black America today. This is sad, and true.

I really urge you to watch all parts of the video, you’ll definitely be entertained. After you’ve watched it, let me know your thoughts…

Thank you!

Staffeen

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beauty in branding

20 Apr

My friend Kandice recently informed me that Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs has a Spongebob tattoo! Wow, I had no idea he loved Sponge that much?! That takes some kind of commitment. And by the looks of it, he’s very proud of his attraction to the little guy.

In the fashion industry, where image and perception is pretty much your selling feature, I’m fascinated at the bold gesture. He obviously doesn’t care – or rather doesn’t need to care about the implication of it on his designs. The LV brand is so well-established and permanent that I’m sure he could get away with publicly loving/donning any cartoon without it affecting perception or sales.

But would publicly admiring Squarepants be damaging to the LV image? I imagine if anything it has generated discussion about him, his work, his ideas and creative process – making the brand an interesting topic of conversation. Like this blog, for instance. Whether or not it was purposefully done to promote or generate attention – what a great promotional tactic! Get a cute tattoo and watch it unfold…

Hm, I wonder if we’ll see yellow hues in the next collection?

For the full slide show click here.
Picture courtesy of the NY Times.

taking it off-line…

15 Apr

Despite the gazillion ways to remain connected, I still feel compelled to invite friends and colleagues for a friendly cuppa. Just call me ol’ fashioned.

Socializing is an innate part of that process of dare I say…‘networking.’ And though the term has been ridiculously thrown around in our business – it doesn’t always come naturally to people, myself included. It all seems to be a vital part of that social milieu – and is becoming increasingly easier with technology.

So when is it appropriate to move it from online – off-line? Surely, there has to be an off-line moment, where you eventually meet and introduce yourself to person you’ve been e-mailing to, commenting-on, right?

Is asking a colleague for coffee/tea ever inappropriate? I would exercise some discretion – but what’s the most polite, ‘non-schmoozy’ way to establish meaningful relationships with colleagues, without over-stepping boundaries?

Remembering that first impressions are irretrievable…

silence is golden, in the city

9 Apr

This morning I was among many people lined up for the Bay bus (with no sign of the Bay bus), when a man behind me randomly started trying to convert me into a believer. He went on and on about a book that he insists that I DEFINITELY need to read, because it will “change my life forever.” He said I should read it because Oprah said so.

Then he started on the extremes of politics, specifically about Obama and Clinton – all of this at 8:45 a.m. He continued to tell me random facts, instance by instance about what each has said towards the other during their campaign – telling me ‘the absolute truth’ about the election. And what’s worse is that everyone in the line up was giving me the, ‘look what you’ve started’ look.

As the monologue was getting to its most painful, I happened to notice my supervisor walking by, so we walked to work together. Good save.

Hint: When trying to persuade a perfect stranger about politics, religion, literature, or things of the sort, it’s best not to make absolute claims. That’s not persuasion – that’s irritating.

 

IN SPIN Pt I | Andy Caldwell

4 Apr

andy.jpg

“Warrior, show me the way…
show me how you got to be so strong…”

If you’ve been around me for the past while, you’d know I’m absolutely smitten with the song ‘Warrior’ by Andy Caldwell, with Lisa Shaw. It’s a beautiful song on so many levels. Musically, there’s an incredible balance between the edgy and melodic, and lyrically I believe it symbolizes what we all should be.

Surprisingly when I spoke to Caldwell, I learned that this too was a result of tragic circumstance, and is one that also speaks to him on many levels. Dark and mysterious, it offers an open-ended explanation about life – as do most of his songs.

But I can’t honestly admit to fully understanding Caldwell’s work. I almost wanted him to “show me the way,” and expand on all the mini-truths he was alluding to. But perhaps that was the flaw in my method. Most of his songs, and especially those on Universal Truth, tend to fall to extremes and trying to demystify and abstract meaning, well, sometimes one just needs to leave ones songs alone. The song is the meaning.

His new album, to be released either in Fall 2008 or Spring 2009 will be an expansion of the vibe of ‘Warrior,’ with the same sensibility to the song-writing.

I don’t know what you’re doing, but whatever it is, Andy, it’s working.

Visit: www.myspace.com/djandycaldwell