Toya Alexis is the Truth!

I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing Toya Alexis perform last night when she opened for Esthero (who also wrecked shop, but we all knew she would). Toya can sing her ass off. As I just learned from her site, she was a finalist in Canadian Idol a couple of years back. Based on how she sang last night I can’t imagine what the five people who placed above her sounded like. Her site says that her debut CD, S.O.B Story, is dropping on August 2nd so keep an eye out for it.

‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ Documentary

Guns, Germs, and Steel, which airs on PBS beginning tomorrow, looks like an interesting documentary:

Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.

Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

  • Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet?
  • Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead?
  • Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East?
  • Why did farming never emerge in Australia?
  • And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?

As he peeled back the layers of history to uncover fundamental, environmental factors shaping the destiny of humanity, Diamond found both his theories and his own endurance tested.

The three one-hour programs were filmed across four continents on High Definition digital video, and combinied ambitious dramatic reconstruction with moving documentary footage and computer animation. They also include contributions from Diamond himself and a wealth of international historians, archeologists and scientists.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is a thrilling ride through the elemental forces which have shaped our world – and which continue to shape our future.

(via James)

Radio.Blog Tribute to Luther Vandross – R.I.P.

I just heard that Luther Vandross passed away today so I had to do a radio.blog of some of my favorite Luther tracks. People always say that “they don’t make ’em like this any more” but in Luther’s case that’s very true — voices like his don’t come along very often. I used to wear these songs out back in the day. Enjoy…

P.S. Great minds think alike. EJ and Todd put together a tribute to Luther as well. Be sure to check that one out too, they’ve included some classics that I’m ashamed to say I don’t have in my collection… yet. 🙂

Mexican Stamps fuel ‘Racial Stereotypes’


A series of five stamps was released Wednesday for general use by the Mexican government. The stamps depict an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s and still published in Mexico.

Oh hell no! Mexico is officially trippin’ now. Fresh off of Vicente Fox’s comments about certain jobs that ‘even Blacks’ don’t want Mexico releases these foul a$$ postage stamps.

WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday objected to a postage stamp issued by the Mexican government, saying that “racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin” and have no place in today’s world.

The stamp depicts an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book, which started in the 1940s and is still published in Mexico.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said it was “an internal issue for Mexico and the postal authorities that issued the stamp. With that said, I would like to make a couple of points. Racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin. The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images like these have no place in today’s world.”

Mexico said that like Speedy Gonzalez — a cartoon mouse with a Mexican accent that debuted in the United States in 1953 — the Memin Pinguin character shouldn’t be interpreted as a racial slur.

Activists have also called on the Mexican government to withdraw the stamp.

“One would hope the Mexican government would be a little more careful and avoid continually opening wounds,” said Sergio Penalosa, an activist in Mexico’s small black community on the southern Pacific coast.

“But we’ve learned to expect anything from this government, just anything,” Penalosa said. [read the entire article…]

I’m surprised that they even have any kind of representation of Blacks in Mexico since they’ve tried to hide the history of Blacks in their country for so long. Perhaps it’s time for a history (and sensitivity lesson)…