On the ground at #TechFairLA today

Well, since Russell Simmons’ yoga activism dynamic is not quite a freelanced story that I can pitch to a media platform such as, say, TRONC, think I’m going to just go and chop it up with All Def Digital at the Tech Fair LA Today. And Amazon’s Audible, if its reps are around. A marketing cross-partnership between ADD and Audible is something I discussed over dinner last night with my friend SJ who is working towards building out Russ’ yoga kingdom. I actually feel a strong appreciation for Russ’ work ethic and dedication to yoga, and sitting five feet away from him was inspiring. I am glad I was able to at least offer something back in the form of the reminder that this Tupac Shakur letter is arguably the most interesting item in Pac’s estate, considering he wrote the letter to a Death Row Records publicist (who a source I met just yesterday told me has moved to England after living in Calabasas for years; I guess one does that after seeing a $150,000+ payday, and here’s to hoping that letter ended up in the hands of an individual who would loan it to places such as the Museum of the African Diaspora up there near where my friend Fatimah lives and create a forum in which Leila Steinberg and I can finally reconcile). But that’s neither here nor there.

Back to All Def Digital. Most of the niggafied stuff they do is not for a business journalist such as myself. However, as a University of Maryland University College graduate student with Harvard Kennedy aspirations, I love to see dope collaborations such as the Spotify-ADD #TrafficJams. I had the opportunity to attend a taping of one, and met Amir Abbassy, b/k/a @blamethelabel, Freeway’s former manager and someone I have the utmost respect for in the entertainment industry.

I haven’t seen the content materialize on Spotify, which I actually do not use as much as Google Play Music these days. Truth be told I have never even tried TIDAL and it will stay that way until Shawn Carter decides to send someone to Ukraine to negotiate signing Neyba to a Roc Nation contract (Yeah I believe in transparency to this level). It would just be better if that person spoke Russian fluently because I am assuming that’s Neyba’s first language.

Now, before you think I’m a fool to handing out ideas out like rappers give out CDs on Venice Beach – hand out USB drives, breh –  keep in mind that the move to Dar es Salaam and/or Dallas is all but done deal, as far as I am concerned. I have nothing against L.A. but to work as a foreign correspondent and create other business opportunities, one has to get on planes and actually stay abroad. I did promise my Tanzanian fam bam that I would return if Donald Trump ascended to the office of POTUS, and I like to keep my word. While it would be nice to visit Kiev again and see my father, I’m not quite sure what stories are there to be told or employment to be had outside the CIA, which I’m going to pass because incompetence has been the Agency’s benchmark since they last touched base with me when I was in DSM in June 2007.

Generally speaking, I’m very interested to hear what the L.A. tech community hiring managers will have to say one-on-one. I’m going to the Tech Fair as a somewhat disenchanted job seeker, although participating in Mark S. Luckie’s #Journo2Tech webinar the other day definitely planted a seed in my mind.

The most important take away from that session?

To be liked. 

I’m still grappling with that one. Considering working for someone else would inherently lease away time I could dedicate to writing The American Opportunist book in Dar es Salaam.

We’ll see what the day holds at Tech Fair LA. As a fan of Mayor Eric Garcetti, I genuinely look forward to it.

#TBT How the U.S. Secret Service Caught Up With Antywan Ross

To my earlier post, in which I dropped the Distant Relatives deck that was produced after William Morris Endeavor international agents for Nas and Damian Marley reached out to my business partner and I to anchor the DR tour of Africa in Dar es Salaam, I wanted to revisit the Antywan Ross story. A private equity friend in D.C. circles tried to match us up, and at one point, Ross and I got on the phone.

Within half-hour after the call, Ross emailed a contract that was half-NDA, half-nonsense. It was a strange piece of PDFuckery, considering he hadn’t done any due diligence on who I was, who I knew or how we would go forward. We hadn’t established any trust. He talked over me during most of the conversation. I didn’t need cognitive ability to discern he was full of shit, overzealously trying to book Snoop Dogg into Tanzania when no one in that market I knew personally then – or now – gave or will give a shit about booking Snoop for the amount of money his camp wants. I didn’t have any leverage then or access to a buyer, especially not one who would pay upwards of $750,000 for Calvin Broadus The Grandfather. Nah. And I still don’t. At that rate, I’d rather book YG in Libya for a bloody dollar (Excuse my sarcasm). Fuck outta here.

That concert business is shady goes without saying, but Antywan Ross is among the worst. He is an example of #TheAmericanOpportunist, which is literally the next chapter in the book that I’ll going to be working on. I mean, dude literally took money from someone in New Jersey and spent it on himself. Granted, when Barafu Group LLC was operational, I misappropriated $80 in our Citi account because I was young and dumb and didn’t realize that using business money for personal needs is a no-go.

My biz partner, who is now at CAA, according to LinkedIn, became as justifiably enraged as anyone should be. Antywan, on the other hand, as far as the media portrayal has me believing, really thought he could operate with impunity after stealing upwards of half-million dollars. When the sum is over $100,000, folks, the U.S. Secret Service swoops in and puts folks on ice. That’s better recourse than throwing tires on their body, sprinkling gasoline on them and lighting them up. Or, just dumpin’ a full magazine clip into their body on random street. I probably would resort to one of these measures, and not feel any sense of remorse whatsoever. But, that’s just me and while in California, I’m cool with a pen or this MacBook as a weapon. When in Texas, it is an entirely different calculus.

In general, at least Max Hardcore had money coming in from Europe when the Justice Department put him away for 46 months with the help of a Florida jury. Poor Antywan was a straight-up dumb ass. I hope he recovered and doing better than an average ex-convict caught up in white-collar crime.






Who says California is not innovative?

The Los Angeles Times’ brilliant byline Patrick McGreevy practically became a Russian political scientist advising President Putin with the due diligence it takes to spew out all the new laws taking in effect in California. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

First is the cyberbullying law, which makes no damn sense considering it is and always will be a father’s role to his daughter to monitor her DMs and encourage her to thwart any global pervert’s or Internet trigger nigger Instagram DMs with her critical thinking and writing ability. I encourage all forms of communication to my 11-year-old because she’s an emerging leader down there at Houston Middle School in Irving Independent School District in Texas. California’s too simple and liberal, but that’s none of my biashara.

This one’s a hoot that pimp rappers should start start Crip and Blood walking to:

“Children can no longer be charged with prostitution, given the high incidence of human trafficking of people younger than 18. Adults who perform or solicit prostitution would not face mandatory minimum sentences.”


And this one is simply non-sensical but further reaffirms that California is a republic, not a nation-state:

The state can’t fund or require public employees to travel to states believed to discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender people.The state can’t fund or require public employees to travel to states believed to discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender people.