Friday, March 28, 2008

The View of Race

I think this episode of the View had some interesting things to think about. Racism is something that I don't think is spoken about much, and maybe it's because people feel as if it doesn't exist anymore. Anyhow, check out these two clips. Feel free to comment; I'm curious to hear what you have to say.

(1 of 2)

(2 of 2)

!'s website

This is the interface of Modernista's new website. I think it's very innovative and unexpected. Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Verses for today

A couple of days  ago I was watching the Cosby Show on Nick at Nite; It was the episode where Venessa got teased at school, and was called "rich girl". After hearing this, Phylicia Rashad (Clair) said, "We are not rich. Being rich is when your money is working for you, and your money is making money...and we work real hard for the money that we have. You're rich not because of money, but because of the family you have that loves you."

Yesterday I was re-reading some of the verses that were read in the Good Friday service, and Matthew 20:26-28 stuck out to me:

26    ...but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant);

27    And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28   Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered (served) unto, but to minister (serve), and to give his life a ransom for many.

In verse 28 "...and to give his life a ransom for many" is so key. Jesus gave his life for us. His purpose on earth was to minister to us. And His life was the ultimate sacrifice for us. Which shows His worth.

Our worth doesn't stem from just what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others. People in high positions are (or should be) working for their staff/employees, as much as the staff/employees are working for those in the high positions. This exchange of service builds relationships with trust, exemplifies a sense of love, and establishes how much we're actually worth.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness I tell you!

My teams in sports are killing me right now. My heart, the Dallas Mavericks, continue to lose, and they're barely in the playoffs right now. And then (give me a sec to regain myself), DIRK GOT HURT, and is out for the season. It's time for Josh Howard to step it up for real.

Secondly, Duke, the team I roll with every year, they continue to disappoint me. I didn't have them in my final four, but I had them at least getting past West Virginia. The Cameron Crazies, Coach K, and the whole Duke community needs to get together and figure this out. I know they were missing pieces this year, but they gotta do better than the second round. I mean look at legacy: Grant Hill to Christian Laettner buzzer beater, JJ Reddick lightin it up from damn near the half court line every game, the crazy battles with North Carolina, and the reoccurring ACC title games with Maryland.'re better than that man.

My bracket is so messed up. I have scratch-outs and "L"s all over it. 

One thing I can say that I'm excited about. My boy Chris Paul. "Killing" might be the best word to use. Actually "MVP" might be better. He has single-handedly carried that team. Don't get me wrong, I love Kobe, I had his champion (brand) jersey when he first came into the league and I've rolling with them too, especially since him getting all the heat for breaking up the "almost the best dynasty of all-time". But CP3 has been killing, Tyson Chandler has been receiving about 3 opps a game, and David West is back and doing his thing too. Hornets are my sleeper team. Put that in the books.

Anyhow March isn't completely over, we still have the rest of this week. So maybe things will turn around. 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Titles, Names, Responsibility

Today I was reading 1 Kings 3:3-15. These verses were about God appearing to King Solomon in a dream, and saying, "Ask what I shall give thee". Solomon began to speak of what God had done for his father David, and he spoke about how he (Solomon) was "but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in" (Which spoke to Solomon's humbleness, for him to state his inexperience). Solomon answered God's question in verse 9: "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge they people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people." God was pleased with Solomon for what he asked for, and it represented the acknowledgement of the role that he had as king. Being wise and just is very important for a king.

After reading these verses, and then through cross referencing, I came across Isaiah 9:6 and 7.
Verse 6 reads: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This verse helped me realize the importance of Exodus 3:14 (after Moses asked God in 3:13 what shall I tell the people the name of who has sent me): And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

I AM? What does "I AM" mean. I AM means: Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Jesus, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16), Immanuel, the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Saviour, and the list goes on. "I AM" represents all that He is, excluding nothing. And He understood his responsibility and His role which He states in John chapter 17.

This touched me because I think titles and names get thrown around so much that we lose sight of the responsibility that comes with them. For example: Mother, Father, son, daughter, student, teacher, counselor, art director, creative director, copywriter, group copy/art supervisor, doctor, lawyer, technician, president, minister, accountant, etc. We all have roles to play. We all have responsibilities with the titles that we have. We aren't to think of ourselves as being bigger than we are, or try to get so tied up in our titles that we lose ourselves, but we just need to be conscious of what our responsibilities are and what's expected out of us. Jesus knew the responsibilities that he had and what he was called to do. And it wasn't easy. And I know our responsibilities aren't easy either (even though I think they're much easier than what Jesus had to do), but we have to live up to them; we are responsible for more than ourselves. Our decisions effect everyone that we're responsible for.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Interview (#3)

This is the 3rd interview of the interview series that I've been doing. Interview #1 and #2 were both people that I have known for over 10 years. I happen to be interviewing someone that I've known longer than 10 years this time...longer than 20 years...maybe even longer than the 22 years that I've been on this earth. Today (March 14th. Sorry this interview was posted late), on my birthday, and his birthday, I'm interviewing my twin brother Bilal Curtis. Me and Bilal always spend our birthdays together, trying not to get into trouble. Last year it was Miami, the year before that, he came up here to New York, and this time I took the dreaded Chinatown Bus down to Washington D.C. just for a day (because I have to get back to NY and finish up "stuff" so I can end my college career off with a bang, and so I can get my portfolio together). Anyhow, this interview was different. I didn't do it on AIM/ichat this time. I interviewed him in a car, while we were on the way to one of our boy's house, before we went out for our birthday. So this interview was definitely interrupted a bunch of times with, "Happy birthday my dude. You lookin' fly B..." or "Oh it's both of yall birthdays...c'mon, yall not twins, yall don't even look alike.". Hopefully there's still order to this interview, considering I was writing it down while we were walking around the house.

JC: So B, how does it feel to be a twin?

BC: The first thing that comes to my mind is "inseparable". Because no matter what happens, we’ll always be connected…man, we were born together.

JC: Knowing that we’re 13 minutes apart, do you feel or see yourself as being older?

BC: No. I just feel like we have different aspects of our personality that makes one of us older than the other at times.

JC: Our differences are very apparent: you are light-skinned with hazel eyes, and I’m darker-skinned with brown eyes; you are 6’3”/210 pounds and I’m 6’1” or 6’2”/175 pounds; you like North Carolina basketball and the Red Sox, and I like Duke and the Yankees; and finally (even though I’m sure there are more), I go to art school in New York, and you are a business major at Howard University in D.C. With all of those differences, what are the similarities and how do we get along?

BC: The biggest similarity is that we communicate openly with each other. And even though we both make mistakes, we both hold ourselves to a high level. We also are men of God, which holds us together, and shrinks our differences.

JC: Besides sports, because we would argue about that for days, name something that you’re definitely better than me at?

BC: Uhh…self-expression. I’m very open, and you are very reserved.

JC: Yeah I agree. High School was probably the first time we weren’t in the same environment for an extended period of time. What do you think the advantages were?

BC: We became our own people, and we we're able to write our own story. Instead of it always being Jelani and Bilal, it became Bilal Curtis who goes to Renaissance High School, and Jelani Curtis who goes to Cass Tech High School. I think we’re as much individuals as we are twins. And we’re different from a lot of twins...we don’t have to depend or be around each other like that.

JC: What do you want to do with the marketing (his major) once you’re out of school?

BC: Change people’s lives…I just want to impact people on a different level.

JC: In 5 words, what’s life in college been like?

BC: Exciting. Fun. Confusing. Enlightening. Eye Opening.

JC: In 5 words, what do you think life after college is going to be like?

BC: Scary. Enjoyable. Take some of the words from the last answer, but for the most part, “blessed”. And I’m going to be learning a whole lot.

JC: Describe yourself in one word?

BC: Blessed.

JC: Alright, last couple of questions. Sidekick, blackberry, or iphone?

BC: Blackberry.

JC: McDonald’s, Wendy’s or Burger King?

BC: Burger King.

JC: Corvette, Lamborghini, or Masseratti?

BC: Lambo.

JC: If you could give advice to someone who’s going into marketing, besides “work hard” or “grind”, what would it be?

BC: Pray with a purpose.

JC: Alright B, the interview is over.

BC: Cool. (I think he was actually thinking “finally”)

(Next week Interview #4)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Verses for today

Today's verses come from, Romans 8:15, and 23, Galatians 4:5, and Ephesians 1:4-5.

Romans 8:
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Galatians 4:5: To redeem them that were under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Ephesians 1:4-5:
4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adpotion of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

Through Christ, believers have become God's children by adoption. The goal of predestination is not to send some to hell and some to heaven, but is the believer's glorification, to make every Christian increasingly more like His Son.

As the Son of God, Jesus had a mission; and as the children of God, we have a mission as well; which we find through the intimacy of the relationship that we have with our heavenly father.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where did all my TV shows go?

Someone must be playing a trick on me. They suddenly ended The Sopranos, Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker, and the writers decide to go on strike which means Mad Men, Heroes, and Entourage won't be back on tv for a while. If anyone knows me, they know TV is a big part of my life. Whoever is playing this trick, please stop. It's not funny. 

Maybe it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be. I still have Late Night With Conan O' Brien, Making of the Band (which isn't a great show, but it's funny laughing at Puff say crazy stuff), NBA basketball on Thursdays and Fridays, and sometimes Sunday...and now, in the best month out of the whole year, MARCH MADNESS. These things on tv are keeping me sane, but those other shows need to hurry up and get back.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Interview (#2)

Today is the second of the interview series that I'm doing. The first interview was a pilot/test, but I'm not sure how it went because I don't think anyone reads this blog (I guess that would mean I'm talking to myself). Anyhow, I interviewed Marshall Sprull aka Jay Pikk, who's an up and coming underground Detroit rapper. "Rapper" might not be the best title, considering his goals are to bring together rappers, even if he isn't rapping, and drop a mixtape which will be called "Jay Pikk presents: The Coalition". You can check him out on myspace if you type in "Jay Pikk aka ToothPikk" and if you're interested in doing something on the mixtape, just type in "The Coalition" on facebook.

JC: Alright, so first question, I've known you for about how long now?

JP: I’d say 10 years at least. Yea 10 years is about right, back in the old

JC: Yeah I know. Crazy. the good ol' days at the Y (YMCA). So I know you went to Cass (Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan) in high school, what are you doing now?

JP: Well Im currently working retail right now.

JC: Well I mean just in general. I think you told me through a message on facebook that you were doing a mixtape?

JP: Ah yes, The Coalition...the mixtape I am currently trying to get off the ground. It is going to feature an array of local artists and singers that I choose to be on it. As of right now, the artists are not picked yet except for a couple that I know personally.

JC: So is this a project that you're doing by yourself, or is it with some other people?

JP: Well, for the most part, this project is solely on my shoulders, but as I build more connections and network a lil more, it could be something more of a group effort. But the entire name of the mixtape is Jay Pikk Presents: The Coalition.

JC: Cool. What would you say might be difference with this mixtape, versus another random mixtape that I could go pick-up?

JP: Well, the entire concept for it came to me one day as I was watching a Dave Chappelle skit. I know what you're thinking, what does Chappelle have to do with my mixtape? Nothing actually...ha ha. But during the skit he was portraying our president and discussing the war. He claimed he had a "coalition of the willing" backing him and the war. Now as for the mixtape itself, I believe I have an ear for talent and I did not want to just do a mixtape featuring me or my homies. I wanted to showcase the talent that resides in our fair city. Something to make the streets talk and be proud of at da same time ya dig? But in order to do that I need a coalition of the willing, because if I'm the only one that wants to push our city forward and help it regain its once popular underground music scene, then the effect would not be as great, ya kno? Makin noise is louder with more people involved.

JC: Good answer. Well Detroit definitely needs something. Even though I'm not there as much because of school, I love it, and of course that's still home. I'm just looking for something to bring it back. But what I can say is that I have a higher sense of pride when I go back because of how it's [downtown Detroit] developing.

JP: Yea i feel da same way, we're comin up out here J! ha ha. Have you heard the homie Big Sean's mixtape?

JC: Yeah I heard a good amount of it, he got signed by Kanye right?

JP: Yea, but see that's my point, that right there, that's a good look for Detroit, and the fact that he actually makes good music is a plus ya dig? I actually wanna try and get him on the mixtape if I can matter of fact, hopefully we can work somethin out, by the way the mixtape is gonna be 100% free.

JC: Oh, well that right there makes an even bigger difference than other mixtapes…This is the critique I have about Big Sean: first off, let me just say his lyrics are cold (“cold” means the same thing as “hot” or “good”) but he raps wayyyy too much like Kanye and personally I can’t deal with another Kanye.

JP: Fair enough, but like I said, he brings a nice lil change of pace to the scene versus the regulars of Detroit rap. Ya kno, “I’m shinin wit my Cartiers on”, “I got big rims”, “the hoes love me”..and so on and so forth..That was another reason I decided to do this mixtape because I am going to release my own later this summer, but I definitely wanted to get people listening to good music again. I feel like we (Hip Hop) as a culture are being saturated with the same songs just different artists. And honestly I don’t really listen to the radio anymore because of it.

JC: Well that’s good to hear you say that, because rap/hip hop is terrible right now.

JP: I don’t think it's terrible, I just think we're in a different space right now. Like they want us to be young and immature forever, but you gotta realize, we're growing up and our music should reflect that

JC: …and thatz what I meant when I said "terrible". People aren't talkin about anything. People are just rapping for what they think people want to hear, versus making songs for what people want to say.

JP: Yea, thats the problem as well, the corporations are dictating what sells and what doesn’t.

JC: So i know your mixtape is called Jay Pikk Presents: The Coalition and your screen name is toothpikk925...what does pikk or toothpikk come from?

JP: Ha ha...well ToothPikk was actually my nickname during the later years in high school. My boi bay bay kinda coined it for me because I always used to have a toothpick in my mouth. So I just took the name and tweaked it a lil to fit my personal style and made it my original stage name. Jay Pikk is the merging of my stage name and my middle name, James. I like it better because in a weird way I think it pays homage to my biggest influence as a rapper, my favorite artist, Jay-Z.

JC: Oh ok cool, I thought toothpikk came from being skinny....but I won't talk about that much, cuz I know I'm skinny too.

JP; Ha ha! You wont believe how many people...especially females, tried to make that point. I just laughed at all of it.

JC: So what do you want to do/be when you "grow up"?

JP: Hmmm...I guess you mean in the coming years, because I'm grown as hell now! Ha Ha, nah seriously though, I would love to be a CEO of a major record label, preferably my own ya dig!

JC: What's your favorite record label?

JP: Honestly I have no idea anymore, that's why I would love to start my own. I don’t think these other labels really care about their artists. That's what I would bring to the table. As you can tell from the concept of the mixtape, I'm not a selfish person. I want all my people to eat, if I'm eating, you're eating with me, Paid In Full type shit ya dig.

JC: Definitely…Alright the rest of these questions are quick questions.
If you could describe yourself in one word what it be?

JP: Determined...yea, that's the 1...

JC: What one word would other people say about you?

JP: Hmmm...loyal.

JC: That’s funny, because that was the same word that the first interview said.

JP: Yea, but I truly believe that though. Because of who I am.

JC: I believe you...4 more questions...

JP: Let’s go.

JC: What would you choose, sidekick, blackberry, or iphone?

JP: I got an iphone actually

JC: I hate you, I want that. McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger King?

JP: Well considering I'm the self-proclaimed "Prince of Detroit," I gotta roll wit da royal fam...ha ha BK ALL DAY

JC: lol. Corvette, Lamborghini, or Masseratti?

JP: Man, I don’t care ‘bout cars, just let my music be heard in 'em ya dig


JP: THAT WAS DA ANSWER! lol but if I must, Lambos are nice.

JC: if you could give advice to someone going into the music industry, what would it be, besides "grind" or "work hard"?

JP: Hmmm...If you don’t have ya heart in it, don't pursue it...

JC: Good answer. Thanks for letting me interview you man, hope I didn’t waste your time.

JP: Nah not at all fam, hope you had as fun a time doin da interviewing as I did being interviewed...ha ha.

(Next week Interview #3)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Set The Atmosphere

Setting the atmoshphere is very important in getting people ready for what they're about to read, see, or hear. Think about how the weather works, for example. Let's say it's 65 degrees, sunny, and not a cloud in the sky, and then all of a sudden it starts to rain. Most people would be upset because they're in nice clothing, they just broke out the crispy white pair of shoes, and maybe they just got their hair did (I don't speak like this, I just thought it was appropriate). However, if the sky gradually started to get darker and the temperature cooled down, people would know, "I need to get indoors or grab my umbrella", because it's about to rain.

I spoke about John Jay in one of my previous entries, but one of the things that he said that stood out to me is that a lot of good ideas get left in the drawers of desks because they're not presented in the right way. Presentation is everything. People sell terrible ideas because they presented that terrible idea in a great way. It seems like presenting ideas is kind of like setting the mood when you have a date coming over your place. Some people want to turn down the lights or turn on music, or cook, etc. And doing these things give off the impression of "oh this is a date", rather than "we're just friends hanging out".

My girlfriend burned a gospel cd for me about 2 weeks ago. I read the Bible often, but I rarely listen to gospel music; so listening to that cd was pretty good, and a little bit of a change of pace from what I normally listen to. One of the songs that's on that cd is called "Set The Atmosphere". And I listen to that song at least once a day now because I started to understand what "setting the atmosphere" means, especially in the context of church. I never completely understood why the pastor or the leader of the choir would have people stand to sing songs in church. I would stand sometimes, but a lot of times I would just sit down and kinda tap my foot to the beat.

Standing up and singing songs as a congregation gets the heart and the spirit ready for God's message to be heard and felt. Proverbs 25:11 reads:

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

This verse means that a message spoken at the right time can penetrate more than a word or mesage said at the wrong time. I think Christians get a lot of criticism because we want to talk about Jesus and what He's done, what He's doing and what He's going to do, but a lot of times the atmosphere isn't right for people to hear it.

We, in general, need to set the atmosphere and the mood right for our voices to be heard.