I had a chance to attend Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff’s monthly Breakfast with Gary this morning where Brother Ali was a guest speaker. Normally, I don’t make it to 7:30 events, but for Brother Ali I made an exception.
It turns out that this was well worth it. Brother Ali shared a ton of stories about his life, including growing up in Michigan, then North Minneapolis and later South Minneapolis. As an albino hip hop artist who came from nothing, moved a lot, lived in some of the poorest and blackest parts of the city, growing up Christan and converting to Islam, he’s lived in the middle of nearly every major cultural conflict in the United States in the past two decades outside of Terri Schiavo.
Of the many awesome stories he shared – often peppered with rhymes that pop into his head, including the above Fruit Pebbles commercial from 1992 – was one about how a police brutality incident in North Minneapolis helped fund his first CD.
As Brother Ali tells it, a friend of his was pulled over at around 3am in North Minneapolis. He handed his license to the cop through a slightly rolled down window. The cop asked him to get out of the car, so he asked why. At that point, the cop smashed his window, dragged him out of the car, beat him, and later wrote him up for drunk driving. The driver was not a drinker or even use caffeine.
The driver ended up having his day in court due to pro-bono representation from a young lawyer by the name of Keith. Keith Ellison, to be precise. The city ended up settling out of court with Brother Ali’s friend, and Ellison managed to make additional sensitivity training for cops part of the settlement. Of the money Brother Ali’s friend received for getting hiss ass kicked, some of it ended up being used to help Brother Ali create his first cassette only release.
Now, Brother Ali is traveling the country, internationally, and making one heck of an awesome living doing something that he loves.
On top of all that, we had scrambled eggs and tamales for breakfast. Awesome.
Thanks to Brother Ali for speaking, Gary Schiff for hosting, and Gary’s awesome staff for pulling together such a great event.
Also, Hart Van Denburg from CityPages was sitting next to me and you can read his perspective here.
The OAE’s project manager, Ceri Jones, is blogging about her experiences traveling to St Paul (how ya like the weather, Ceri?), and has had some fun nuggets to share, such as enjoying Northwest Airlines, getting from the airport to her hotel without ever going outside, the full workout facilities at her hotel, and free cookies:
Anyway, it was now early afternoon, (early evening in London) and time for a nap maybe? Only I was a bit too awake for that so went for a swim in the hotel pool and had a bit of a wander and got a bit excited about the free chocolate cookies in the hotel foyer (in Europe it’s usually fruit on offer. Need I say more…..)
CultureBully.com is teaming with DonorsChoose.org for a three day fundraising campaign supporting music development and literacy within local Twin Cities schools. Beginning at 10:00am (Central) on Monday, October 20 Culture Bully will be posting exclusive content at least once an hour, every hour for 60 HOURS!
With the support of over 50 local and national musicians these posts will include exclusive commentaries by the likes of Josh Grier of Tapes ‘n Tapes, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, YouTube legend Tay Zonday, Kid Dakota, Maria Isa, Kristoff Krane, M.anifest and many, many more! Additionally, Culture Bully will be debuting brand new music from 14 local acts including Jeremy Messersmith, Roma di Luna, Little Man, Nobot, Dan Israel, Heiruspecs and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles.
Good luck to Culture Bully and thanks for supporting music programs in our schools.
After watching this video of Feist on Sesame Street (awesome):
I decided to take a look on YouTube to see which other celebrity appearances have been popular. As of this writing, Feist’s video has a bit over 169,000 views, but it’s also only been on YouTube for six days. The videos below are the top-10 most popular Sesame Street segments on with celebrity appearances on YouTube. Great stuff.
I’m having a hard time getting worked up about digital watermarking.
The most annoying thing about music with DRM “protection” was that it made it tougher to play on the device of your choice.
With watermarking, a song purchased from iTunes, for example, could have your email address embedded in the file, so if the MP3 you purchased ended up on a P2P network you’d have some explainin’ to do.