Black History Month – Greensboro 4

la-la-me-mccain-obit-jpg-20140110 greenboro-first-day

On February 1, 1960, Joseph McNeil, Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair), Franklin McCain and David Richond, four African-American students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, conducted a Sit-In at a white-only lunch counter inside a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s store. The Greensboro sit-in catalyzed a wave of nonviolent protest against private-sector segregation in the United States.

The sit-ins were successful in forcing partial integration and in increasing national awareness of the indignities suffered by African-Americans in the southern United States.

On July 26, 1960, five and a half months after the sit-in began local businesses agreed to serve African Americans alongside their white patrons. The Greensboro 4 lead the way for desegregation in North Carolina.

I personally had the honor of being taught by Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair) throughout 6 grade at Sgt. William H. Carney Academy, New Bedford, MA and mentored throughout my life.

Read more about Mr. Jibreel Jhazan, or as he liked to be called “Easy”, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezell_Blair_Jr.

Greensboro 4… with a Unity Fist in the Air…We salute you!

Greensboro 4 Now

In Feb. 1, 1990  Joseph McNeil, Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair), Franklin McCain and David Richond repeated the original sit-in of 30 years prior, by having breakfast at the Greensboro Woolworth store.

Greensborough statue

As a tribute, a monument of the Greensboro 4 has been erected at North Carolina A&T State University. 

February 1st is FREEDOM DAY!

Tem Blessed and Blest Energy band performing LIVE on January 23, 2016

Tem Blessed @ The Bar

Announcing! Tem Blessed and Blest Energy band performing LIVE on January 23, 2016 @ The Bar (Formally Black Watch Pub).

@ 9pm. 266 Dartmouth St. New Bedford, MA. It’s gonna be dope!
Come rock with us!

Public Radio International story on Tem Blessed

Arts, Culture & Media

Hip hop artist Tem Blessed brings a green message to a new generation

‘Green Energy Artist’ Tem Blessed rapping at the annual Connecting for Change conference in New Bedford, MA.

Credit: Connecting for Change, the Marion Institute

Hip hop might not be the sound that music fans associate with environmental action, but “green energy” hip hop artist Tem Blessed is using his music to speak directly to young people about sustainability.

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

“Hip hop is the voice of the youth,” Blessed says. “It’s what really touches them — and we look to bring some of these messages through the music, using hip hop as a tool to educate, to inspire, to have the youth get out there and create some of their own hip-hop in a way that’s constructive, energizing and has a positive focus on the future.”

Blessed says he has always been into “socially conscious hip hop.” “I came up during the time 1992 through 1996 — what I call the ‘golden era’ of hip hop,’ where you had KRS1, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim — all these greats, who were always teaching us something, teaching us about the world and other cultures,” he explains.

When he attended a conference called Connecting for Change, his mind “got blown” by all the information he learned about the state of the natural environment and about the need for sustainability. “It was just a natural evolution to go from social justice topics to sustainable topics, which always has equity involved in that,” he says.

One of Blessed’s raps, ”I Am the Bee,” has to do with colony collapse disorder, a topic seldom addressed in modern music of any kind, but which Blessed takes on with a passionate urgency.

I am the bee.
Pollinate the truth, if you choose to see.
Pollinate the youth to truly be free.
Pollinate love, let’s all agree
I am the bee.
Keystone species, we need these bees, honey.
They pollinate most things you eat.
Funny, they do this for free, without a fee.
Billions of produce produced nationally.
Now, millions of bees have abandoned their hives.
If they disappear, in four years the human race will die.
That’s a quote from the famous scientist Einstein.
It’s logical to anyone with half a mind, man.
It’s horrible.
Where you think where you going to run and hide?…

“As Einstein said, ‘If the bees die, we die,’” Blessed says. “We have only four years left [once they die], because they pollinate most of the things we eat. So when I heard about this information I said, ‘My family needs to know about this. My community needs to know about this. The world, the planet needs to know about this.’”

Blessed is originally from Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa, but he grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His name combines two aspects of himself.

“My first name is Temistocles,” Blessed explains. “It’s Greek, although I’m Cape Verdean. But I always knew I was blessed to have talents. I could draw, I could write, I could sing … and a great family that led me to where I’m at today.”

He tells a story about his childhood which, he says, illustrates how the people of the world must respond to the planet’s present climate crisis.

“When we used to go out anywhere, my father kind of trained us to get back together when he needed, so there was this whistle he used,” Blessed explains. “If you heard that whistle you had to come running. And if you didn’t come running you were in trouble.”

Humanity definitely needs to hear that whistle, Blessed says. “We have a climate crisis going on right now, and if we don’t do something right now, we will not have a future,” he says. “So now is the time for us to do something. Listen to the whistle. The scientists are ringing it and blowing it loud and clear. Let’s do something, people.”

This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Living on Earth with Steve Curwood

Follow the link here.

Hip hop artist Tem Blessed brings a green message to a new generation

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