Forget about #MuslimBan inside a Caribbean club in Hollywood

I am not sure what to post about that I didn’t express on social media earlier. 

Tonight, I am inside a Caribbean club in Hollywood at the moment, and it reminds me of a club or two in Dar es Salaam. Festive and care free is how Africa and African diaspora do. Yee, as the brodie Shaadie up in the Bay would say. Yah, mang.

Three things:

Russell Simmons is the man. I am glad Uncle Rush has found political social media groove.

Thank you WordPress. Did not make it to the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative event today. Slept through it, generally how Israeli Jews do on Arab Israelis trying to get a seat at the Knesset. Yeah, my memory is long.

To switch to PR, go Golin? Three, I hope Golin finds it a mutual fit. I can see myself working there when not working on TheAmericanOpportunist.com or contributing to All Def Digital or other platforms. If nothing pans out, I am off to Dar es Salaam for three months and freelancing. After renewing my passport, of course.

Shout out to Fayah Sundays for inspiring this post. No #FakeNews when music is involved.

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.

What I Learned From Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast While Eating Lunch at Sweety Pie’s In North Hollywood

First and foremost, here are facts on the ground. John Coltrane’s “How Deep Is The Ocean” tune is playing on Pandora. I am plopped down here at a chain eatery at the corner of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards in North Hollywood’s spiritually rejuvenated Arts District. Next, I’d like to quote from Travels, a manuscript published in 1988 by my favorite Harvard-educated-doctor-turned-novelist. This quote sums up my outlook and worldview moving forward in this existence pretty well. Before upcoming travel to Tanzania via Ukraine, or U.S. politics, African politics, religion politics, business and death, I offer you this:

“It is my intention to write about the interstices of my life, about the events that occurred while what I imagined to be the real business of my life was taking place.”

-Michael Crichton, Travels, p. xi

Fact is, while I pay attention to HKS podcast to gauge where Harvard’s bright minds are today because I am interested in being accepted to HKS for 2018-19 to become one, I come from a media background and will never been able to ween away from it. Fact is, I am one phone call-in away from having 2009 national champion North Carolina Tar Heels player and four-year NBA veteran Rashad McCants on the line. Rashad’s my guy, even though our business relationship has yet to truly take shape. He needs to reconcile with UNC board of trustees to be able to win over Michael Jordan and introduce us into East Africa.

Which brings me to the topic of trust. Today and for the foreseeable future – through at least Jan. 20, 2021, when POTUS Donald J. Trump will either enter a second term or a new president will rise – facts remain that the U.S is still the most diverse, embittered, conflicted and awesomely powerful nation on the planet known as Earth. But, let me defer to HKS’ roundtable participant, Roger Porter, who should not to be confused with Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, the genius whose Five Forces concept is the paradigm underneath the mindset of global business.

When RP says that the U.S. is  “a nation that’s roughly 50/50,” he’s talking about half of the people wanting democracy and the other half wanting a republic. It’s the that finely-aged realism versus liberalism dilemma. For the uninitiated and uneducated, these  different sets of governments can govern a democracy.

“Democracy takes the preferences and priorities of all sorts of people and tries to meld them together.”

Elsewhere in the podcast, the fellas and a lady – named Barbara – bring up the good ol’ D.C. slang I’ve heard many times from R.M.D. in Northwest DC: low-hanging fruit. Even further down, I heard them bring up “the importance of strategic ambiguity,” which is a key phrase POTUS candidate Hillary Clinton has given in speeches to Goldman Sachs investment bankers.

I love how the entire roundtable laughed at the mambo jambo that Mama Chelsea uses to fundraise for her nonprofit organization Clinton Global Initiative, which I think should employ my good friend and family member Cecilia Membe in Tanzania to actually do some private sector that benefits that East African republic.

As far as POTUS Donald J. Trump’s concerned, I am actually a fan of the guy. I understand his professed appreciation of Russian leader Vladimir Putin (we share in that), sarcasm, his sexual innuendos, his vilification. He is a typical albeit oddly Scottish and niggafied New York City raised real estate developer, through and through.

Trump and I have a few things in common in that we play a villain to some and are grandiose to others. I was an Inland Empire commercial real estate reporter at the California Real Estate Journal from March to May 2007, hired and unceremoniously fired by Michael Gottlieb because he needed to churn through yet another reporter after burning a bridge with my predecessor. That’s my only basis for comparing myself to Trump, since I have yet to develop an inch of commercial real estate.

This post’s getting too long but let’s just say that blogging is a lot like hedge fund target practice when you have family in Tanzania and Ukraine. Furthermore, I have aspirations to give rise to the first POTUS born to a Ukrainian-American father and a Tanzanian national in the state of Ohio. Galion, Ohio, to be exact.

Now, if you will excuse me, let me go figure out the last quip I learned from Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s last PolicyCast, used by a participant as a reference to the 45th President of the United States of America:

“I think he’s strategically ambiguous to his benefit.”

 

 

Skolar-We Ain’t Unluckin

Remind me to write out these lyrics and record in better studios when I’m back in Dar (sup Dunga!). Most don’t know I was an a poetic emcee before diving journalism, but here are. It is all the same expression. You gonna learn today! But I name-drop too many people. Context, intestinal fortitude and the ability to disrupt rap while reppin’ Ukraine. Yeah, that’s my trajectory while my favorite emcee’s protege is selling pillows to Ricans.

Good luck/bwana bahati/*Russian flag* to DJT! LMAO.

#TheAmericanOpportunist

On #TrumpInaugural and ass-backwards entertainment politics of hip-pop

Why no one at this hip-hop media platform I contributed to from 2007-11 has bothered to call Hip Hop Caucus for a direct quote about the #TrumpInaugural perfectly illustrates the idiocy that infects the segmented hip-hop audiences today like a virus.

 This is why urban media, such as the aforementioned flagship enterprise of a Canadian-Indian owner, is generally in my good graces. Websites like this and their audiences are truly the poster child for the  post-Obama #niggality backlash from non-Black U.S. citizens. Yea, it’s true. I count myself in the latter group, but having spent more than two months total in East Africa plus fathering a child with a Tanzanian national residing in Southern California, I honestly, truthfully and candidly could not care about anyone’s opinion of me. Unless, you are in the federal government, a federal contractor or one of the 20 percent of Americans who own a passport, you are not anywhere remotely close to understanding the global political landscape nor business. We have no common ground in which to speak to each other. Get it right.

 
Bottom line is this, though. Hip-hop/rap/urban culture is stewing in its own piss and fertilizer. That is unfortunate and extends well beyond that “State of Rage” merch from FWMJ, which I am cool on buying as much as HSTRY clothing (I did order Queensbridge Bricks from Lipmatic but my kid couldn’t care less about it and that’s probably the last time I shop from that e-commerce provider).
The rest of the world is ahead. Russia’s bigger, smarter and overall, simply more pragmatic about its approach to Libya and Syria than the “exceptional” U.S. – because Obama is not a monarch, d’oh!
As far as I’m concerned, for those that are curious about what I’m doing next, well, that’s inconsequential and on a need-to-know-basis. I may head back to Tanzania or just drive L.A. aimlessly. There’s nothing wrong with Dallas or Kiev, though. Pops is still in Kiev, plus Kiev flights cost $600 roundtrip from L.A.X. and I don’t need Terrell Starr’s opinion-laden national security stories on Foxtrot Alpha to inform me about the reality in my homeland. I can do artist discovery out there just fine and figure out how to make money.
The bigger picture is I’m going to write #TheAmericanOpportunist in Dar es Salaam this summer. It’ll find its way back to the States like my private equity partner in D.C. found friends falling from the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. That’s still in Langley vaults, though, I’m sure. And I don’t care about the CIA considering it has no legs right now.

Is DJ Mustard’s trainer resorting to a marketing lie to push BodyArmor?

This is not fake news, nor is it gossip. As a journalist with more than 15 years of various experience – from San Fernando Valley Business Journal to HipHopDX/NBCBLK – my integrity is sound like sauti is the Swahili word for “sound.”

Ask around.

So, when I write to state that as a 24 Hour Fitness member, I walked into the North Hollywood location on Friday, Jan. 13, noticed a framed flyer at the front desk showing DJ Mustard’s face and likeness, plus some copy mentioning Trey Songz, and a sign-up sheet, I truly got excited. I just saw Mustard and the trainer up at the Hollywood location taking jumpers on the same court where Pooch Hall and I balled earlier that afternoon.

Last I checked, DJ Mustard – real name Dijon McFarlane – is Jay Z’s Roc Nation managed artist. As such, I am going on a limb here, but the presumption is that  the his management likely did not approve or did not know about the promotional appearance at 24 Hour Fitness. So, Mustard’s trainer took it upon himself, and with BodyArmor attached a sponsor.

This is almost as unfortunate as the fact The Economist social media producer gig is paying only $40,000 per year. LOL. I’m sorry I just don’t fall for the okie-doke like some, if not, all of y’all. I briefly met the on-site rep with BodyArmor at the gym yesterday, when I also had a videographer roll through. I shot some video for social media and it is over on my Snapchat: akbarskolar. The white BodyArmor rep, with very average basketball game, told me the brand is based in New York, which tells it is likely desperate in having to engage in these kind of marketing gimmicks to grow its marketing share. I’m good on it, bro. It tastes like it’s marketing – strawberry sh*t.

I really hope Roc Nation and 24 Hour Fitness can get to this story before my former colleague Van Lathan decides to take this up on air. Oh, well, it could be too late now.

Eddie Huang and Steve Harvey are two comedian dicks and it’s f**kin comedy

My former colleagues at VXI Global Solutions will appreciate this New York Times published Eddie Huang dome piece aimed at Steve Harvey’s rich, bald and shemzi bongo. Yes, I realize this is something that’s a few days old but it’s trending on Facebook because Eddie is a lawyer, an author and a provocateur. I met him at either MAGIC or Las Vegas shows, and he’s a veritable but well-meaning oddball, like myself. How do you say “sarcasm” in Tagalog? Niggality humor is more fun when spread out across races and in used jest, of course. We all live in it. Ukrainians are niggers too. Tell ya momma.