This is BJ. He's got the sweet bike. He showed up at St. Johns and everybody was checking out his custom bike. He and his club are going to be in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and in the King Day Parade on Crenshaw, so make sure you check them out.
What you can't see here is his jade green jaguar handlebar neck. He's got a few battle scars on the front fender, but clearly he's put some time and love into his bike. But like an spirited horse, it has thrown him a couple times.
In remeberance of New Orleans, this photo of my late grandfather.
Pops came across this old photo of my youngest brother. In the photo he's about 4 years old which would make this about 1972. At the time, the new city center of Century City was just being completed. It was the new headquarters of all of the agents and lawyers in the film and music industry.
I very much vibe with what he was doing at the time, and I often do it myself as a father. That is to take my children to the sharpest places in the city and give them an intimate familiarity with it. My parents grew up in an America that didn't allow blackfolks to shop in the upscale districts without blistering police scutiny, if they were allowed to shop at all. The moment those walls came down, we were all over it. I can even see, in the casual flap of my baby brother's shirt a thumb in the eye of the System. My father's mother was nicknamed 'Miss Madam' because she was so excruciatingly proper. Such slovenly dressing would have never been allowed on a downtown shopping trip in her company. That I very much remember when I met her as a child. What is very well known, but not often said of the Civil Rights Movement was that it was the courage of youth who had not been beat down that gave parents the strength to pursue justice. How often we stand behind babies.
We haven't heard much from young people in the matter of the tragedy of New Orleans. We will, eventually. But I am looking towards the day when there will be new buildings and new faces smiling in front of them. They will give us the courage to get past the ugly past even as they mark our hope for the future.
Ahh.. the joys of fatherhood.
I took about 90 pictures yesterday and it took me about that many to screw up the courage to take pictures of people face to face. There were only three moments that began to capture the spirit of the day. The third was a family picture and I've decided not to bore you with more of that.
I found in this particular shot, among all of them, a great deal to investigate.
I have a huge number of excellent pictures of children that I keep off the web for ethical reasons. But I found one, that was taken recently that I figured I could share with you.
Identifying the people in this picture is a lot easier than with the gang of Bobbie Soxers. Auntie is on the left and Moms is on the right with me. You can't see me because there's no fancy neonatal technology in 1961. Nobody knew if I would be a he or a she. I'm there though, about to become a real boy in less than a month.
I'm pretty sure that this is the LA Zoo. Things have come a long way since then I'd say. The folks had a very difficult time getting housing on base at Pendleton, but I'm told that my immanent arrival helped soften hearts that otherwise were closed to persons of color in those days. So I was ultimately born in Oceanside, CA; a good place to be from.
Not long thereafter, we headed up to Los Angeles and I grew up in the shadow of the Dons.
Somebody asked whether I'm from Louisiana. I'm not but my mother is. This is the crew (krewe?) she used to hang with back in the day. Now the fact of the matter is that she looks so much like her sister that I'm not exactly sure which one of these young ladies she is. She's either the one in the back with the big smile or she's the one in front with the medallion.
Of course I always like finding pictures like this which seem so anomalous in the face of the propaganda of black depravity. My propaganda beats yours, so take that. Check the Wellington House series for more such photos.
I swung by my father's house today. Ever busy, he was painting the awning on his patio. Inside, Abenaa was working with a friend on her plans to start a charter school. As usual, he had me fix some mumbling thing on his computer but this time I didn't grumble about it. Also, I find that he purchased a brand new Dell laptop with a huge screen. He has no idea how it works.
It is also my habit when visiting Pops to consider the mass and magnitude of literary and photographic materials I will inherit someday. This time, however, and probably for the first time, I felt overwhelmed by the prospect. So I took the unusual step of liberating some materials from his shelf, in this case about two dozen issues of Negro Digest.
He recieved these and God only knows how many other correspondances through his Institute for Black Studies. As I paged through these particular publications, it reminded me how little a great deal of thinking has changed. It's difficult to say how well understood or how powerful the ideas of the time were. What's clear to me, in any case, is how little the dialog has changed from the abstracts on the back covers of these magazines.
I'd like to share with you some of the covers and perhaps some of the content of these dilapidating volumes. I've decided to do so under this category of Wellington House in representation of a black past. These first two are irresistable.