Ola peoples. This morning I gave a talk at Jefferson Community College, for a leadership program they hosted for 400 local HS students. It was great! The kids were amazing and engaged, and their college hosts were cool and gracious. The speech itself was pretty straightforward, but we had a lot of fun & interactivity w/ the audience.

I asked them some personal questions about their strengths, weaknesses & aspirations and challenged them to stretch themselves & do some of the “hard” things. I think that stepping out of one’s comfort zone and taking on the challenge of mastering something you are not already “good” at, actually strengthens you in other aspects of your life. After the talk we had a Q&A and I flexed the golden rhymes a lil’ bit for the sake of the yute. lol

Anyway, afterwards we had lunch together and after answering more questions and talking about education and growing up overseas, we took dozens and dozens of photos, as kids from each school came up to say “Hi” & strike a collective pose. A local news station, covered the early part of the day. You can see peep their news report here.

D.N.A

Wassup Ya’ll,

A book review that I wrote for Oprah’s Book Club selection: “Say You’re One of Them” by Uwem Akpan has just gone up on Oprah.com.

Check it out:

www.oprah.com/article/oprahsbookclub/pastselections/20091028-obc-derrick-ashong

Watching Chris Matthews on Hardball the other night and he has neo-con “war-nik” Frank Gaffney on, to debate Dick Cheney’s recent comments on Obama with President Reagan’s son Ron Reagan.

It’s pretty much to be expected in these so-called dialogues between representatives of the “Left” and the “Right” that an argument will shortly ensue. But this one was a bit beyond the pale even for politijunkies like me. At the end of a pretty heated exchange, Gaffney tells Ron Reagan that his father would be ashamed of him. Now you know I’m pro peace & dialogue and such…but I would have smacked the metaphorical taste out of the old coot’s mouth right then. Check it out:

How crass must you be to drag a man’s dead daddy into the fray. All politics aside I’m guessing President Reagan loved his son as much as any father, and knowing Reagan’s own neo-conservo-iconoclastic reputation (yes I made that word up), was probably proud of him for having the guts to “go his own way”.

You can peep the full exchange here.

D.N.A

Hello o’ blogolicious ones. Forgive the long absence but I’ve been busy HyperTweeting away on a couple of other sites. A certain J Gramling has been sweating me about doing real blogging so fiiine. I am dusting off the old digital opinionator and will be sharing some thoughts on life, the universe et cetera.

For the first destination in this literary excursion I’d like to talk cinema. Last week I went w/ a particularly excellent friend to see “The Invention of Lying”. I went because it stars Ricky Gervais, the creator of the original British version of “The Office” and because Jennifer Garner made it sound super cool on Leno a few weeks ago. Mind you I had very little idea what it was about. I thought it was about a world where people have not developed the ability to lie, and all of a sudden one guy does.

Turns out I was correct. Kudos to the people who made the trailer:

Anyway the movie was great! There were a few elements of it that were a bit obvious (I saw the pizza box tablets coming a mile away), but it was still a sweet and heartfelt take on aspects of our human identities that we largely take for granted. The concepts of film, religion & advertising are particularly interesting in a world where people are only capable of saying what truly “is”, with little to no room for interpretation. Dating is in a class all it’s own (after seeing this flick, I’d like to give a major “thanks” to all the women who have lied to me over the years).

Ultimately I loved the film because the chubby, middle-aged White guy makes out well in the end, and I can relate to that. I also dug the prism the film puts on the whole idea of creativity and it’s impact on so many aspects of our lives. In some ways the truth becomes a canvass on which we paint our own interpretations of the world around us. When in doubt, let sleeping dogs lie on pizza boxes.

D.N.A

Right, so the first post went thru. Nice! Now to see what it takes to get a link up in hurr. And in case the first type doesn’t work, we can always try the basic: www.soulfege.com.

Right, this is the last mobile test post. Next one will be more exciting. Promise! ;)

DNA

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Ok I’m testing this new functionality that has apparently been sitting on my blog forever. If this works I will be able to Blog directly from my BBerry instead of needing to be ob my laptop.

What are the implications you ask? Well given that I largely seem to live on airplanes (w no wifi…curses!) this will enable me to make trenchant observations from terminals across the planet, largely about the relative comfort of sleeping in different types of airport seating devices.

So here’s the first mobile salvo w the possibility of many more. Hope it goes thru! :)

DNA Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

So today I dropped a few thoughts on the idea of Obama as “savior” for the BET.com Inauguration Blog. As y’all already know, I’m not big on the idea of someone showing up to “save” me. Waiting around to exhale seems like a good recipe for asphyxiation. Still there’s something powerful in believing great things are possible. Peep the post for my proper pontifications… D.N.A

Wassup y’all! I’m not even gonna’ tell you where I’ve been. lol A WORLD of stuff has been happening. Will fill ya’ in later. Just wanted to give you a heads up that I’m contributing to the new Yes We Will Inauguration Blog at BET.com. Check it out and give me a shout! D.N.A

I did an interview earlier this week for Harvardwood, exploring some of the current trends in the campaign and some key issues facing the nation. It’s a 45min full-length, unedited, uncensored response to some live questioning and covers topics from the role the Media & the Arts in politics to the ongoing propagation of lies by the McCain/Palin ticket in this campaign. I’ll see if I can get the source vid from the interviewer and chop it into smaller pieces, but for now here’s the whole hog. Get informed, get involved and let’s go out there and WIN this thing!

D.N.A

O’BIDEN ‘08

Video is no longer available

I wrote this the night of The Speech. In the wake of McCain’s announcement yesterday I think it is ever more important to think about the global implications of the decision we are about to make.

Tonight with laptop before me, cell phone in hand, and the world at my fingertips I watched Senator Obama raise the bar in American politics to such a height as to put his opponent’s very relevance into question.

All year we have heard that Obama lacks the experience to lead the nation; that he’s peddling false hopes. For those who have taken the time to read his policy positions, to explore his story, to genuinely listen to what he has been saying in his speeches, it’s been clear for some time that this son of a single-mother, Harvard Law graduate, community organizer, teacher of Constitutional Law, State and then US senator is neither a Pollyanna, nor an ingénue; not an idealist, nor an innocent and certainly not an “elitist.”

All year we’ve watched the slings and arrows flying fast from the quarters of those whose commitment to the wealthiest among us is matched only by their poverty of ideas and the unmitigated gall with which they have striven to distract the American people from the defining issues of our day. In a world where regular people can no longer believe in the security of their jobs, homes or health the Republican Party has determined that the issue at hand is not the crumbling fabric of American life, but rather the popularity of the opposing candidate. In the absence of substantive solutions to the problems facing our nation Senator McCain has chosen to fight this political battle on the fringes of common sense. But we who have been paying any attention at all are well aware of at least one simple truth:

This election is about much more than Paris Hilton.

Tonight I saw Senator Obama stand and deliver what will go down as one of the great speeches in American public life. But what moved me most perhaps was the experience of watching it. With television, laptop and BlackBerry before me, I Tweeted, texted and Facebooked with young people on every continent as we watched History made before us. I was struck not so much by the esteem in which friends and strangers hold Senator Obama, but by the fact that we have all clearly heard the call that he is making.

The GOP has failed to understand what is the fundamental genius of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Senator Obama has never made this campaign about The One…he has made it about The Many. And from Kansas to Qatar, Paris to Pittsburgh a generation is heeding his call to responsibility for our collective future. Senator Obama tonight proved himself not only qualified to be Leader of the Free World, but as someone uniquely qualified to make it a freer one. In a world desperately in need of heroes, he has ignited the spirit of heroism in us all. And no distraction, no distortion, no demonization will quench the American spirit that breaths today in the hearts of the citizens of the world.

Alright so y’all know I don’t post a lot on pop culture these days, mostly because I’ve been trying to avoid the peculiar brand of brain-deadedness it induces these days. But I just stumbled on this video and it is hilarious! All y’all young artists out there, take this under advisement before you sign up with the super-producer du jour. For the rest of y’all just answer me one question:

WHERE IS CRAIG MACK?!!!

Peep game…

Last week I did an interview with a radio host named Keith Bryant for his online show “The Black Right.” Now I know what you’re thinking: “D, aren’t you some kind of raving lefty loony? Don’t you want to hug the wales and save the trees and have the govt send a Cinnabon to every child in Sudan???”

The answer is unequivocally NO. Yes, I do have a certain predilection for trees and grass, but that’s only because Prospect Park embedded such pastoral imagery in my mind early on. And it’s true I think that happy whales are good for business but that doesn’t mean y’all shouldn’t respect my GANGSTA! And my legal counsel has advised me not to speak about the Cinnabon thing until we’ve sorted that whole thing out so…

The truth is I am happy to kick it with people of all political persuasions, provided they are smart, respectful and can back up their ideas. And so, when I got my invite from the Black Right I thought “clearly these are bright & insightful people who have not held the whales thing against me. I would happily grant an interview.”

It was thus that I got on the horn with Keith Bryant and for 45 mins kicked it about music, meaning and the wackness that was the New Yorker cover. And yes I know I should have posted this sooner. But I’ve blogged like 3 times in the past 7 days! I’m overheating over here. ;) Check out the interview here.

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