By WBDanney

MAG

Good Morning Mr. West

“Good morning Mr. West”

Kanye, I am currently not your peer in the music arena or in any industry of which you are a participant. Indeed you have few peers. No one makes that point more abundantly clear than you. You are beautifully obnoxious. Some people find your opinions and expressed thoughts disagreeable, distasteful, objectionable and even offensive. However, you are a genius. As a composer, an artist, a business person you have achieved levels of success beyond the imagination of many. You sir are a creator of culture. You help shape and mold minds. Not just with your music, the power of your presence in this reality is felt. You generate energy. To quote another of my favorite artists, “You are an icon living”.

Many people admire how you express your feelings and articulate your thoughts. While for sure a lot of folks disagree with your ideology as well as parts of your philosophy, no one can dispute that you invoke individuality in the spirits, brains and minds of the masses.

I am a Kanye West fan. Over the past couple of years, like many others I have been giving attention to your personal statements verbal and otherwise. Some of your thoughts can be translated into political association. Publically, I haven’t said much about any of these statements that you’ve made. While personally I do not agree with many of the somewhat political statements and remarks that you have expressed, without question you are entitled to your opinion. With that said I decided to channel some Kanye West energy, break my silence and write these words and thoughts.

I recently watched what people are calling “Yet another Kanye rant”. I’m speaking of your appearance on SNL. The impetus for me writing these thoughts is the fact that you stated people were attempting to bully you into not wearing the “Make America Great Again“ (MAGA) cap.

While the “MAGA” cap and its slogan and more so the energy that surrounds them are disagreeable to me and many others, bullying is in any form or format is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated. I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself and what you believe to be right.

As you have expressed, you don’t take advice from people less successful than you. With that said, I would not precipitously attempt to offer you advisement in any of your forms of expression, creativity or thought. However, I do have some questions.

While you are not a politician or a political personality, most people would agree that you are a celebrity. That celebrity adds weight to your shoulders and to your voice. You have a powerful platform. I understand how many celebrities most notably recording artists brush off the role of role model. However when people attain and have acquired a certain level of status in any society they have also achieved transforming themselves to a role model. Whether the person in question decides to accept the responsibility of being a role model is a choice. That’s not a jab by the way, it’s the truth.

So often, too often I experience blogs, articles, posts and books that in many ways masquerade as the beginning of conversations or dialogue, specifically pieces of work that touch any political points or speak to social-economic issues. Similarly to how you characterized some media outlets, many of these types of pieces have been bias, one sided, unbalanced and limited. I challenge that style of writing and archaic way of thinking.

Kanye, I presume you have some understanding of why many people find your alignment with the Trump administration disagreeable. I’ve listened to comments by some of your peers in the music industry. Most notably TI, in a interview with the Breakfast Club TI provided a higher level perspective of your expressions of thought. I’m very glad that you and TI have some form of correspondence. I ask that you please keep him in your corner and circle.

Kanye, if we were personal friends I would call you so we could have this conversation. As things are, I only know you through how your creativity and art touches the world. And of course, you don’t know me at all. With that said, we have some disagreements. Primarily, I disagree with your alignment with the Trump administration.

In lieu of expressing personal and professional disagreements and concerns about policies and decisions of the Trump administration, it would be better to move forward and tackle the root of issue. The issue is coming to understand your thinking. As futuristic as you are, I truly believe we all can at least understand where your thinking is originating.

To do this, I need to ask you questions. In usual sceneries, you have expressed your thoughts and then some circus of response happens. By circus, the pundits, bloggers and pretty much anyone with an opinion attacks your ideas and sometime you personally. So I propose we learn what you think about policies of the Trump administration and the “MAGA” ideology.

Kanye, I like that you’re expressing the fact that Black Americans are not a monolith. I also enjoy the idea of independent thinking. My concern is that in your disenchantment with liberals and democrats puts your individuality and independent thought processes at risk.

I’m a Black man who was born in the 70s. I grew up in the 80s. I was inner city raised in a two parent household by Christian parents. I don’t believe in impossibilities. Imposable is a word that was invented before I was born. Imposable describes that which has not been accomplished. With that said, it would be near imposable and almost inconceivable that anyone with a background even remotely similar to mine could not have some conservative ideas. However a logical question is, “What are you conserving?”

My dude, this letter is already much longer than I intended. I’ll close by saying, you’re awesome. Many people listen to you. I don’t have to tell you that. You know it.

Young people look up to you. Many aspire to be like you and achieve similar levels of success. You have great power in that regard. I greatly appreciate how you discuss and comment about love and fear. Love is a good thing. So is healthy fear. I can understand why you suggest that people use their heart and love more. I get that.

With that said, brother I love you work. I implore you, please greatly elaborate on your thoughts and ideas. Again, obviously millions of people care about what you say and what you think. It’s important that you even more so articulate your views in an intelligent way that help us understand why you believe what you represent.

There is no question people will be talking about you and your creativity 200 years from now. The question is what will they saying about you. Love is great. Love is needed and necessary.

I challenge us all to think.

Peace and love,

 

William Danney

 

Make America

Great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ground zero

Ground Zero

When global powers such as the United States go into war, weapons of mass destruction are utilized. Big guns and heavy machinery is deployed and bombs are dropped. In times of war, a country makes several efforts to insure only militarized targets are bombed or destroyed. The powers that be, attempt to avoid hurting or killing civilians, innocent people, women and children. However and unfortunately, in war hospitals and schools are sometimes hit and innocent people are murdered. They call this collateral damage.

Crack cocaine hit Black communities like a bomb. Crime and violence experienced by some of the residents of Black neighborhoods is collateral damage.

Black Americans are at war, we need to begin setting off some bombs. However not bombs of mass destruction more so bombs of mass creation. We need to set up and set off behavior and businesses that explode within Black communities and shell out additional creativity and opportunities. These explosive devices need to be engineered by us for us. We know what happens when a bomb that was not engineered by Black people is set off in Black communities. The bomb is usually something like “Crack” or some other illegal enterprise that is contained and controlled by people who are not residents of those communities.

Again, Black Americans need to engineer and build the type of social and economic explosive devices and products that we have complete control over. And when we set off these explosive mechanisms, the areas affected should look like a bomb went off. Meaning, the areas should be very noticeably different.

To be certain this point is understood in the correct way, picture a neighbor hood that is ridden with crime. A neighborhood that is host to an open drug market where the streets are dirty with drug paraphernalia, the sidewalks are filthy with garbage and trash left by the drug dealers and drug addicts and where seemingly, nobody cares how this looks and feels. In these types of environments we as Black Americans need to set off a bomb.

A bomb meaning explosive action that when activated changes the negative structure of the environment. In this scenario, that explosive action can be one individual who decides to begin cleaning the sidewalks, sweeping the streets and disposing of the trash and garbage left behind by the drug dealers as well as their customers. As community leaders, one of the first initiatives we undertook was cleaning up the neighborhood and keeping the sidewalks and streets clean.

Implementing Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and understanding that people learn and develop behavior patterns from watching other people as well as being exposed to certain visual stimuli, we decided to create new modeling constructs for Black American communities. This translated into cleaning the sidewalks and keeping the streets clean.

This action proved to be explosive. We didn’t see immediate effects. Life is not a reality T.V. show, real progress takes time. However, after about two months, other residents, young people and even some of the drug dealers began to emulate and imitate the more positive behavior of cleaning the sidewalks and keeping the streets free of trash and garbage.

As Black Americans we must establish a philosophy of Black Nationalism. Black Nationalism will change the mentality of Black people in the United States. Once you change your mentality your attitude will be different. This will change your behavior. After your behavior has been altered, your actions will reflect your mentality.

kung fu

I Know Kung Fu – My GSS Family

Someone asked me yesterday, “What’s your greatest take away from your time at Good Shepherd”? I told her. “I know Kung Fu”. She looked at me like, “”Ohhh K” and what does that even mean?” Because she asked and also due to the very confused look on her face, I felt obligated to offer an explanation of my answer.

So I told her…..At some point in time there was a young woman that was employed at the center who studied Kung Fu. She was actually an advanced student having achieved all the various belts, progressed to the level of instructor and ultimately became a Kung Fu master. That’s when I met her. Like many of GSS employees, she held a full time position at the center and occasionally she would fill in on the residential units providing care for clients and kids.
One day we got to talking about this and that. So I asked her, “When you find yourself in close quarters with a client who may be acting aggressive or even threatening, are you ever tempted to use your Kung Fu?” She said, “Tempted, ha. I use my Kung Fu here all day everyday”.
So of course I was surprised by her answer. I said to her, “Isn’t that dangerous? What if you throw a punch or a kick and somebody gets injured?” I was thinking, I can empathize with the situation however practicing Kung Fu on kids seems like something that could turn bad real quick.
That’s when she said to me, “Will, one the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in Kung Fu is the power of restraint. Restraint is more effective, more efficient and a much more powerful tool than excessive force. Utilizing mental powers over physical force, exercising restraint to keep my cool as well as my composure and communicating with the kids is the best Kung Fu.  I use my Kung Fu everyday with these kids. If I didn’t have the martial arts training that I do then I might really lose it and start throwing punches.”
After I understood how she implemented her Kung Fu at the center, I was ready to learn. I became aware that sometimes the most useful Kung Fu is practiced with coworkers and team members. At times dealing with staff members can be just as challenging if not more difficult than dealing with our kids. I don’t think that’s a secret. However like any big family we work things out. This is where good Kung Fu is again so helpful.
Many things have changed in the past 12 years, procedures, policies, people, etc. However the mission has been consistently and persistently carried on by all GSS team members. From my perspective, all the people who have walked through the doors of Good Shepherd have contributed to maintaining the mission. I’m not just speaking about the senior management team who give great guidance and direction for our facility, our policies, and our people as well as the mission. Nor am I only speaking of direct care team members who are on the front lines everyday providing care that our kids need as well as the respect that they deserve.  I’m also speaking about the folks with whom I work most closely both in proximity as well as in procedures and processes. My “IT Crowd” as well as our team members in Finance, PI, Facilities, Training, Housekeeping, etc. At times it may seem that what we do as non-direct care people may not have a direct impact on our clients and students however I can assure you that every action we took as members of the GSS team had an impact on our kids. Over 12 years, I have learned so much Kung Fu in how to deal with people and situations and how to understand that every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. It is my pleasure and honor to have worked with so many talented, dedicated and beautiful people.
Thank you,
William Danney
buy a book

Weeds in the Garden

At times, my view point of life is as follows;

for me to be angry about how my life is presently is equatable to me being angry about spinach not growing in a garden I created and cultivated where I only planted collard greens. It’s my garden, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If I only planted collard greens then only collard greens will grow. If I want spinach, I will need to plant spinach. I cannot borrow or keep borrowing someone else’s spinach. I will need to plant my own. So even if I need to “dig the whole thing up” in order to redo my garden to grow my spinach that is what I must do.

While going through the redo process I may need to chop some stuff down and pull some things up. Some of us have weeds in our gardens. I know I have a few. In a flower garden sometimes the most beautiful of flowers are accompanied by weeds. Weeds are a menace; they like to create havoc and destruction among our beauty. This is why we cannot just remove weeds. Weeds need to be extracted and pulled out from the ground by the root so to be certain they have been dealt with effectively. In fact after the weed extraction, we need to discard the extracted root immediately. For If we lay the root on the ground, its seeds will likely drop and germinate; developing into an entirely new weed. I’m not sure if you knew, pulling up weeds is hard work. I didn’t know how challenging it would be until I had to start pulling them up myself. No one can pull the weeds up from my garden but me. This is a task I must perform myself. I’m not a big bible quoting person however I understand now what Paul meant when he said,

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

–1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT

So now that I know what produce I would like my garden to yield, I will proceed accordingly. As we all must maintain, cultivate and sometimes redo our own gardens, I urge everyone to offer some guidance to younger generations so they may learn early to take good care of their gardens.

Thank you,

William Danney

buy a book

It’s Friday, Buy a Book

A lot of us got paid today. It’s weekend. Many are off from work Monday for the King holiday. Buy a book and celebrate your awakening to reading and knowledge.  Of course I would appreciate you patronage. With that said, they’re many authors, traditional and self published from whom you can purchase book. So yeah, I’m officially declaring Friday, “Buy a Book Day”.

 

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Keeping it 100, we did it my N3RD.

Perhaps “good and evil” are illusions of society. Labels used as part of a narrative which was created to simplify human beings into stereotypes. Thereby making people easier to manipulate and control. So now we have “sheeple” and mindless automatons that are under the influence of those who have ceased power to create and proliferate narratives built upon negative connotations.

We do not fit in a box of someone else’s design and making. The perceptions of others do not define who we are. Perhaps there is no true “evil” however the forcing of a people into a particular paradigm will no longer be allowed.

For that purpose, we will control the narrative of our own story. This is our true power. In fact, this is the essence of power. Humans perceive and interpret the reality of living through stories. So within the stories that are told, taught and propagated by others, we need to critically think about where we have been positioned. Not only that, we need to take ownership of our stories in order and in chaos to create and control our own narratives. We must tell our own stories. We cannot depend on someone’s, anyone’s single story to describe us. We are more than monolithic.  We are a beautiful collection of complexities and characteristics that continue to stretch the boundaries of being. We are A Company of N3RDS.

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