Photo by Evan Vucci

originally published: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8479571/kanye-west-white-house-donald-trump-quotes

On October 11, 2018 the famed rapper and producer, Kayne West, made a visit to the Oval Office. This episode is one of many demonstrating his support for Donald Trump.  The visit has been widely publicized and left many scratching their heads at Kayne’s seemingly undying support of the 45th president.  The rapper delivered a disjointed soliloquy to the Oval Office and White House Press Pool last Wednesday.  The 10 minute speech has elicited much criticism, however, the rapper did mention key issues for America that demand reform; ranging from police brutality, prison reform and mental health.

West discussed the constitutionally upheld “Stop and Frisk” practice in effect across the country among law enforcement. “Stop and Frisk” allows law enforcement to detain individuals based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The practice is somewhat problematic and can give police far branching authority in detaining citizens and in conducting personal searches. Often, minority populations feel the brunt of this practice when used with overreaching authority and brutality. The practice is a part of general distrust for police officers among Americans.

Last Wednesday’s speech also touched on the problematic 13th amendment to the Constitution-abolishing slavery- albeit preserving it in the form of incarceration. In 2013 over 2.3 million adults were incarcerated across America. With the influx of corporate prisons, this population continues to rise and allows for corruption with the ability for profit.

Kayne also discussed mental health issues and creating jobs. Under the Reagan administration government funded mental health institutions were dismantled. This move has lead to growing homelessness and crime across America. West also mentioned expanding  employment opportunities, specifically in the city of Chicago.

Ignoring the content of Kayne’s speech, what seems to be most appalling is his support for a politician that garners support from white supremacists and the religious right. Political ideologies aligned with these groups often profess bigoted and hateful rhetoric. Kayne has also made statements on race and slavery that are enough to rise eyebrows and question his motive to align himself with the president.

One argument for West’s support of Trump could be about financial motive over true political support. President Trump is one of the wealthiest individuals in America and is supported by a voter base that favors tax breaks for the rich. The wealthiest often benefit the most from fiscally conservative economic policies. Kayne is an A-List celebrity worth $160 Million. The Elite marry the Elite.

However,  the character of the soliloquy seems to be an almost laughable placation to Trump’s insatiable ego and attention seeking addiction. It contains unapologetic praise of Trump and a belief in him to “Make America Great Again.” It speaks a language Trump understands- where he is the center of the universe and ruler of the free world. Kayne even finished his speech with a big hug for ole sir Cheeto.


Photo Cred: https://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2016/12/13/kanye-west-trump-tower-nr.cnn

Kayne’s support of Trump honestly seems unbelievable. Although Kayne purported to not have voted for Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Kayne donated thousands to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  Many of the topics he discussed in his speech were issues that don’t plague most of the voter base of the Republican Party. There seems to be conflict in ideology here.

Given the character of his speech and prior support of Clinton, it begs the question-Is Kayne’s support of Trump really genuine? Is his alignment with Trump some kind of political genius to effectuate change on issues that are impacting millions of Americans? Is he using his position of wealth and status to open discussion on these issues? We can only hope so. Only Kayne really knows….

As reported by NBC, here are some of Kayne’s most choice phrases during his visit.

  • On voting for Trump: “My dad and my mom separated so there was not a lot of male energy in my home and also I’m married to a family where, you know, there’s not a lot of male energy. It’s beautiful though.”
  • On Trump’s support from African-Americans: “Blacks really get caught up in the idea of racism over the idea of industry.”
  • On racism: “Racism can’t control me.”
  • On his mental health: “I wasn’t bipolar, I had sleep deprivation that could cause dementia.”
  • On his speech: “You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it.”
  • On Trump wanting to implement stop-and-frisk in Chicago: “Well, I feel stop-and-frisk does not help the relationship with people in the city.”
  • On bringing jobs and tax breaks to Chicago: “We’re going to need to get a few breaks to be able to have some places in my hometown of Chicago … where we can create some factories. I think it would be cool for them be Trump factories because he’s a master of industry, he’s a master builder. I think it would be cool to have Yeezy ideation centers.”
  • When asked about Chicago’s gun violence: “The problem is the legal guns. Legal guns is [sic] the problem.”
  • When asked about a possible presidential run: “Let’s stop worrying about the future, all we really have is today.”
  • On Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan: “Another thing is black people have a problem with the word again … because time is a myth.”
  • On being in the Oval Office: “Oh, it is good energy in this.”

No matter what side of the aisle you stand or whether you like Kayne West, some of the ideas mentioned in his speech Wednesday need to be brought to the table.  Even if it is confusing and baffling, the implication could open doors for positive change.


Photo Cred: Alex Garland

On October 1st, The United Nations released a report on climate change that paints a portrait of dire consequences. The current health of our planet is tipping out of balance. Serious policy change is needed to sustain our ecosystem and propagate life as we know it. The report suggests a crisis as early as 2040.

A group of scientists appointed by the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), raise concerns that due to carbon dioxide emissions, the earth’s atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 Celsius) from pre-industrial levels of 1850 by the year 2040 if current emissions continue as projected. Environmentalist experts believe 3.6 degrees is where symptoms of climate change will be critically evident. The report was compiled of findings from 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed 6,000 scientific studies.

Now a few degrees doesn’t seem that serious, but the warmer the atmosphere, the hotter the planet and the longer the heat waves.  2001 to 2010 was the hottest decade on record.  Higher temperatures create a score of side effects.

At a 2.7 degree hike, there will be an increase in droughts leading to water shortages. Another major side effect of hotter temperatures are wild fires.  Shore lines will also rise due to melting polar ice. A warmer atmosphere can lead to increased insect life, spreading disease. Coral reefs are dying due to increased acidity and warmer oceans.  Coral reefs are a major part of the ocean ecosystem providing a significant food source and regulates much of the world ecosystem. The IPCC report indicates mass sections of coral reefs dying off by 2040 if current levels go unchecked.

The IPCC report projects serious ramifications. The report recommends cutting decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 45% to prevent the 2.7 increase we’re headed for and doomsday of 3.6 degrees.  This would require serious tax increases on carbon and coal. Tax increases on carbon mean higher gas prices and electricity. Unfortunately, these types of taxes are wildly politically unpopular. “This report makes it clear: There is no way to mitigate climate change without getting rid of coal,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report.

Let’s face it, more expensive electricity and more expensive gas, means major change to how we operate as a world society.  Less dependency on technology, less mobility and less comfort.

The Paris Agreement adopted in 2016 was a massive effort worldwide to help decrease carbon emissions.  The Paris Agreement recommends carbon tax hikes and many world powers, America included, are withdrawing from the agreement due to its stance on carbon tax hikes and coal. America is the second largest carbon emissions offender.

The current administration is abhorrent to the evidence of global warming. The president is even promoting the increased burning of coal and threatens to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Other major world powers dependent on coal are withdrawing from the agreement.

With midterm elections coming up in November, one of the most powerful things you can do about this is issue is vote.  Vote in candidates that are willing to take the threats posed by carbon emissions seriously. Think about your own use of energy and ways you can conserve. We only have one planet, let’s make sure something is left.


On Saturday September 22, 2018 from 2-6pm, a mural painting block party, We Are Seeds, powered by BriteHeart and sponsored by other local activist groups such as Southern Women for Civil Rights and The Deane Foundation was hosted at Center615.

BriteHeart is a local civic organization dedicated to connecting community through public activism, citizen participation, and voting. Their moto is #getcivic. Center615 is an open space for local entrepreneurs, shared office space, music production and venue hosting. The event was emceed by Lightning 100’s Annie Klaver.

We Are Seeds was a great event with local music, food, beer, coffee and mural painting all generously donated by sponsors such as Bearded Iris, Martin’s BBQ, Hip Hueys, Jerrys Artorama and Barista Parlor. It was a beautiful afternoon of community and good vibes.


Local mural artists Omari Booker, Woke 3, Caitlin Mello amd Elisheba Mrozik contributed to a large mural near the entrance of the event. BriteHeart invited attendees to add their own personal touch to the mural, including handprints, signatures, and other unique images.


Upon entry into the event, volunteers made sure no attendee past their threshold without offering the opportunity to register to vote, stressing the importance of participation in the upcoming midterm elections. Also upon entry, a ticket for a plate of BBQ and a beverage were provided. Local food trucks and other vendors were on site for alternative food and drink options.

Inside of Center615, performers provided entertainment for block party attendees. The event opened with a local EDM artist, Quiet Entertainer, followed by other local musicians, Milly Roze, Young Qual and the Pearl Cohn High School Drumline. Poets from Southern Word also delivered spoken word.


Southern Word is a poetry group. Two female poets took the stage sharing stories of their fight for survival. The first poet shared tearful memories of many crossing Mexico’s border into the promise land of America, escaping poverty and struggle. The second poet told of the unpublicized violence plaguing Nashville’s poorest communities.

Also inside Center615, other activist groups offered information and support. Among these groups were Planned Parenthood, Nashville LGBT and the Nashville Food Project. Another booth sold art created by Nashville’s homeless population.


BriteHeart works with many non-profits locally and nationally. If you are interested in getting involved and contribute your talents to other events like We Are Seeds, please visit http://briteheart.org. #getcivic and get involved in your community.



A shower and a shave. For many its a daily routine. We awaken to the alarm bells, and stumble headlong to the bathroom for our daily grooming. For most, this is routine, for the less fortunate, a luxury.

A trip to the barber- that regular necessity tied so closely to keeping neat and tidy.  One’s mane is a part of identity, look and connection to self. For the less fortunate and homeless, it is a necessity that is often gone without.

On any given Monday night in Legislative Plaza, the Nashville Street Barbers are helping dole out a little slice of community. Between 6 and 8 PM you can find as many as a dozen local stylists spreading  love a little snip at a time.

As many as 30 customers come down to Legislative Plaza for a haircut, shower and a meal.  Volunteers take names on a clip board and each customer sits in a stylist’s chair and given a professional haircut.  Another non-profit, Shower Up, provides showers out of their mobile truck. Other local businesses donate food and even toiletries.


Many of the stylists volunteer every week, with many repeat customers, giving out haircuts under the light of headlamps and jiving to their own personal tunes. The Plaza is filled with  energy and uplifting spirit, complete with hugs and sharing stories.

This service to the community helps restore pride and morale to those living circumstances, most cannot imagine. I stopped by on a chilly September evening, the temperature beginning to drop, and was reminded of the coming reality of winter,  thankful for my bed and roof over my head.

If you have the ability, volunteer your time to this great cause or donate to keep this cheerful event alive. Many in America are living one paycheck away from homelessness. Many just need a lucky break.  A haircut is a small step for many towards a new adventure.





architecture-bench-blur-136739 (1).jpg

I have called Tennessee home since the July after my 7th birthday, 1994. My family, one of many, deposited in Spring Hill, Tennessee from the Midwest motor cities of General Motors. Like many, I have never really left. Every departure has always circled me back to my rocky top home. The last adventure landing in 2013, I took up residency in the 37206.

With every passing year, the city’s growth is undeniable, with entire neighborhoods holding a shadow of memory. Since 2016, Nashville has grown at an average of 100 people a day, adding 36,337 in 2016 alone. https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/03/28/new-data-nashville-region-still-growing-100-people-day/99733098/. More people equals more vehicles on the roadway.

With existing growth not expected to waver, over 3 million people are anticipated to call Nashville home by 2040 Let’s Move Nashville ranking with current populations of Los Angeles and Chicago. In 2017 the local population was hovering around a million people https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/03/28/new-data-nashville-region-still-growing-100-people-day/99733098/.  The city is also a tourist destination, not just nationally, but worldwide. At present with a population of a million and tourist influx, Nashville already suffers from congestion and gridlock. The current infrastructure struggles to support the current population, let alone over 3 million people.

Another point of growth in Nashville, is the cost of living is also on the rise, taking nearly $80,000 to live comfortably in Nashville, and median income ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. Most of the population cannot afford to live in the Metropolitan area. Determining affordable transit is going to be necessary not only due to increased traffic, but also to keep people working and living in Nashville Metro https://www.newschannel5.com/news/on-the-rise/cost-of-living-greatly-outpaces-wage-growth-in-nashville.

In May 2018, referendum was held over the 9 Billion Dollar Lets Move Nashville transit plan proposed by former Mayor Barry. 5.4 Billion of the plan dedicated to a Light Rail System and 1.1 Billion to enhance the current bus system. The proposal was voted down with a resounding “No” – leaving no clear resolution as to the future of Public Transportation for Nashville.

Generally, the voting public of Nashville, big picture Tennessee, does not want to pay more taxes. This is evidenced by the fact that Tennessee is one of 7 states without a state income tax https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T055-S001-9-states-with-no-income-tax/index.html. Aside from Washington, states with cities that have city populations reflective of Nashville, have a state income tax. Property taxes are also much more forgiving in Tennessee as compared to national counterparts. USA today ranked it 4 out of 11 states with the lowest property taxes. https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/482944002. Let’s Move proposed tax increases on sales, hotels, businesses and rental cars to pay for the transit plan. With such a heavy price tag and an already resistant public to increasing taxation, it is no wonder why it was not accepted.

The Nashville MTA bus system offers a fair amount of service, but the enhancements proposed in The Let’s Move Plan alone would vastly improve the public transportation dilemma. The plan proposed expanded service hours, more frequent stops for bus riders, and greater overall accessibility. The projected cost of 1.1 Billion for these enhancements in Let’s Move also might be a slightly easier sell to the current tax weary voter public. Optimizing current transportation technologies not addressed in Let’s Move are viable options as well.

Rideshare companies, such as Lyft and Uber, have a massive presence in Nashville. Utilizing these drivers and companies for public transit is an innovative and low cost alternative to traditional transportation methods. The city could partner with these Rideshare companies to offer carpooling services to commuters.

For instance, this partnership could offer a weekly or monthly cost for a seat in a carpool provided by the Rideshare company. The Rideshare company could offer specific time slots/days for customers to sign up for. The customer would have to participate so many days a week or out of that month to keep their seat in that carpool. Drivers that participate would also receive a flat fare from the ride, with the option to tip still being available. The fee could vary depending on the time slot selected and expected traffic based on current data these companies already use to calculate fairs. An incentive to utilizing this carpool service, would be free rides provided by the Rideshare company. These free rides could be subsidized with tax dollars.

There are inherent issues that could arise with intermingling Rideshare companies with Public Transportation.  Would the city regulate the safety of these vehicles? Would Rideshare drivers become government employees? In short, no. It would work much like when the government accepts a bid from a private vendor on a public project.  Rideshare companies would keep the same model and regulate themselves within current law surrounding those services with as little government interference as possible.

Working with Rideshare companies in developing smart phone apps along with the carpool service, would provide a seamless and easy to use way to access bus routes as well. Let’s Move proposed this kind of technology as part of improving existing transportation. This technology would assist consumers in accessing information about the system in one convenient place and would also help local law makers in determining and regulating the use of these systems.

Even with simply adopting the previously proposed bus enhancements and incorporating the use of Rideshare Companies into the mix, a broader solution will be needed to match the projected growth of Metro Nashville. The major task at hand is convincing taxpayers of this need.



The most recent developments in the Mueller investigation include an immunity deal made with two of Trump’s loyal long time business associates, Pecker & Weisselberg. Now, whatever these folks know is obviously unknown at this time, so I will forgo speculation.

For any other administration, even an insinuation of impropriety would be damaging enough to erode the public support and eventually the loyal party’s base trust.  Why is this time different?

Because America has a case of Trump Fatigue.  America is worn out. With every sound bite made into an hour long pundit bash of the president for his tweets and outrageous comments, attention span fades more and more.

The major networks do not seem to realize they are playing right into the media strategy the government has been employing for decades. Give the masses breadcrumbs of information so that when big explosive revelations are made, public outrage remains minimized.

Trump Fatigue is arguably a symptom of The Associated Press.  The same information, for the most part, is broadcast across all networks. If you happen to watch during peek times, such as in the morning or in the early evening, the information is usually highly sensational soundbites designed for maximum ratings. Unfortunately, these are peak times for a reason.  That is when the number of viewers is the highest.

Political polarization is also a contributing factor to Trump Fatigue, which is evident across most major news networks.  Politics is almost boiled down to a Super Bowl game, Us vs. Them type of mentality. “Avoid conversing with those crazy Libtards.” “You cannot reason with those zealot Cuckservatives.”  I am right you are wrong.

So how do we combat Trump Fatigue? Watch televised news aired during non-peak times. Typically during those off times, the networks are less concerned about ratings, the news is less sensationalized, and more in-depth investigative journalism is at it’s best.  Pay attention to the details. Stay well rounded in your news sources and read past the headline in political articles. If engaging in a political conversation, try to understand the reasons behind another’s beliefs and opinions that differ from yours. Welcome free discussion and understanding. Do not spread misinformation; stay informed yourself.

Finally, make sure to cast your vote in the midterm elections. If we want the game played differently, we need to usher in new players.


Would you rather be respected or liked?

When asked the question, 100% of the people I polled answered they would rather be respected. Not surprising. No one wants to admit to wanting to be liked, but truthfully we all want to be liked. Let’s just be real. For those rolling their eyes, muttering, “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me,” hear me out.

The desire to be liked is a fundamental part of being human, down to an existential and evolutionary level. In ancient cultures, to be disliked or an outcast literally could equate to death. Ancient society and culture depended on being liked included. An individual had to prove their value with a skill to be accepted and embraced by their tribe. You had your hunters, basket weavers, shaman and gatherers, etc. All of these roles had a purpose and furthered the community. If you lacked the ability to hunt, identify what plants would nourish you verse kill you, being kicked out or left by your tribe could mean your early demise. Today, we can just run down to the local store, and as long as you have money, you can buy and eat all you can afford. Evolution has not caught up with technology and humankind still operates as relational animals fighting for survival.

Dr. Roger Covan explores in his book, “The Need To Be Liked,” why the need to be liked is as crucial as clothing and food. Being accepted and being liked helps sustain emotional fulfillment. Being rejected causes pain. Our body reacts to the pain of rejection as it does physical pain. The body has a desire to live and thrive. The amygdala in our brain helps us to appreciate potential threats to protect ourselves from the threat of emotional and physical pain, to keep us alive. Protecting ourselves from the pain of rejection is part of the evolutionary fight for survival.

The desire to be liked can become problematic if the threat appraisal of rejection is too high. Dr. Covan explains that we all have individual core belief structures about ourselves and relating to others that help form our ability to apprehend pain, including the social pain stemming from rejection. If an individual has poor beliefs about themselves than the threat appraisal for rejection will often be incorrect.

Essentially, the more poorly you feel about yourself, the more likely you will assume others feel poorly about you too, leading to misjudging the threat of rejection as part of the body’s attempt to protect itself and thrive. The incorrect threat appraisal leads to behaviors to alleviate the perceived imminent threat of pain. Some people will cling to others, become aggressive, some will withdraw and some will directly push others away to avoid the perceived threat of this pain.

So let’s look at the classic love story of boy meets girl. Boy and girl get on well. Boy and girl begin dating. After a period of dating, boy has a really busy week at work and on top of that, comes down with a sudden illness. Boy spends his days working and quickly collapsing upon crossing the threshold of his living space due to exhaustion from aforementioned circumstances. Boy doesn’t call girl for a couple of days. Boy’s failure to contact girl or spend time with her has nothing to do with her. If girl has good core beliefs about herself she will understand and maybe even offer to bring boy some soup. She will not perceive this as rejection. If girl has poor core beliefs about herself, girl could interpret this behavior as a sign of rejection.

Girl could react to this perceived sign of rejection in several ways. She could show up at his home professing her undying love for boy and flooding him with attention and signs of adoration that totally overwhelm boy. Girl could become angry and demand explanations for his oversight and accuse him of unsavory behaviors. Girl could withdraw inside of herself feeling abandoned and forlorn that her beau has lost interest. This belief causes her to act aloof and disinterested in boy leading him to eventually give up on the relationship. Girl could go as far as to break up with boy to avoid the rejection she perceives. With it all leading to the same result of what being rejected would cause, the relationship ending.

Poor core beliefs about onself, lack of self love and poor self worth leads to being rejected in one form of another. Lack of self love and poor self worth also demonstrates a lack of self respect. Therefore, if one does not love themselves, they cannot respect themselves, he or she will lack love and respect from others around them oftentimes due to their own behavior.

Even further, poor core beliefs and lack of self love cause people to stay in unhappy relationships, accept poor treatment from others and foster an inability to draw healthy boundaries with others.

Nobody respects a doormat that allows people to walk all over them. Nobody respects that clingy person that constantly demands attention. Nobody respects the person who becomes angry and aggressive every time you do not respond to demands for attention. Nobody wants to continuously put effort into someone who appears aloof and disinterested in them, because the other person fears rejection so intensely, the other person puts zero effort into the relationship.

Respect comes with a level of sincerity and morality that seems starkly contrasted from the need to be liked, but really they are related. To act with respect, means you take no shit. You assert your needs. You stand up for whats right, irrespective if someone likes you for it. To be respected comes with a level of authenticity. The you when no one is looking. The you when you have no one to impress. This person has their own voice and point of view that is unwavering to others opinions and perceptions of them. This person knows they are worthy. They know they are loveable and okay if everyone does not accept them.

Someone who loves themselves and respects themselves knows their worth so does not need to cling, be aggressive, withdraw or push away. The person with a healthy amount of self love and solid core beliefs respects themselves and therefore gets respect from others.

So yes, even the most independent of independent individuals need to be liked, but taken too far leaves a person without being liked or even respected.