Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interview with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip-Hop Caucus

I would first like to say that I am proud of my city. Catalina Byrd(columnist and blog talk radio host of On Point) and James Collins(Fertile Ground)organized a great show. The people of Baltimore came out to show love and solidarity with Haiti. The artists gave it their all, but more importantly they gave their time and money.

It was a beautiful was a great feeling. After the earthquake hit and news reports flood the mass media I kept hearing about the need for help. I heard the horror stories of bodies being found underneath rubble and children caved in and completely helpless. At the time I honestly didn't know what to do. My mind went blank along with my expressions.

I watched report after report and read the newspapers which compelled me to do something. When I first heard about the earthquake I took it as just another disaster, thinking it had minimum affects. I was wrong. When journalists hit the ground and started reporting the affects was much great, much more catastrophic. The media showed the pain and gave me direction on what I need to do.

I came across donation opportunities and took advantage, the Bmore4Yele benefit concert was one of them. Despite the reports about Wyclef Jean's Yele Foundation, I came out to give and to bring focus to what can be done for Haiti. I figured if I can't be in Haiti then I will report from here and show the power of the human spirit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

One on One interview with Baltimore County Health Department Director Dr. Gregory Branch

Believe it or not, I shot this interview over a year ago—before Obama had even taken office. This interview hits home to me because, like many African-American families, I have love ones that suffer because of poor health. My father has diabetes or "suga" as we sometimes call it. And constantly my mother denies him can sodas followed by her describing a vivid picture of him living as an amputee due to severe complications with diabetes. I feel his pain of being deprived of sweets, but living a life with no legs sounds a lot more painful.

Bad habits is to blame for it really. In our communities we are use to certain things like crime, pollution and poor health. We're flooded with so many fried chicken spots and liquor stores that you would think they were decoration. Similar to the trimmings of a Christmas tree or maybe a specially designed coffin. Yeah, we have very lucrative funeral homes here in Baltimore as well.

Hey, bad habits or should I say ignorance is a tradition that runs deep. In my father's younger days, and even now, black folks and health awareness is an oxymoron. In all fairness to a lot of families, when you trying to hustle for the next meal a Chef salad can't hold weight to a cheap bowl of Ramen noodles. Not making any excuses but when you're hungry, you're hungry.

But we have allowed diabetes, hypertension and other diseases to bring us to our knees. When you have mom's sweet potato pie shoved in your face since you were a toddler, the words "Just Do It" sound like the lost commandment. Now we are eating ourselves to death.

Health insurance? Hell, some of us don't even have car insurance. If that additional money can go towards another bill in the house, then a lot of folks in the working class will take their chances.

I'm not stating that the health insurance is irrelvant to us, it's just not on our radar. Or could it be we just don't understand exactly what's in it for us?